Sept. 30, 2013
Practice Highlights and Interviews | 40 Day Countdown
The East Carolina Men's Basketball Team opened practice for the 2013-14 season at the Smith-Williams Center Monday afternoon, holding its first of 30 sessions over the next 40 days. Leading up to the season-opener Nov. 8, the history of East Carolina basketball will be chronicled as a part of the 40 Day Countdown in anticipation of the start of the new season. Updates will be provided daily through Twitter @ecupiratehoops.
Prior to the start of practice Monday coach Jeff Lebo and several Pirate players spoke with members of the media about the season ahead. Below are selected quotes from those interviews:
Head Coach Jeff Lebo:
On the earlier start of practice:
"Its exciting to get started. I feel like each year we get started earlier and earlier so it's going to be an interesting time. We are going to be able to slow things down and go at a little bit of a slower pace which I think is going to be good considering we have a lot new faces."
On being able to dictate the practice schedule:
"It's nice to be able to practice around your kid's academic schedules and not around when the gym is going to be open. We will be in here a lot but obviously we are still going to be in Minges because that is where we are going to play. Guys are coming in at all different times and getting in some extra shooting in breaks around their class schedule and just having a place like this is terrific for the players."
On the players use of the Smith-Williams Center:
"They love having access and not having to know when they can get into the gym. They can come here at any time of the day and have access to shoot. We are still in the process of making things more functional but once we put the toppings on our vanilla cone they will be able to reap the benefits from it."
On the inexperience of this year's team:
"It's scary. Show me a team that has a lot of new faces and a lot freshmen and I will show you a team that struggles a lot. We have got some good experience guys back and a lot of new faces. You look at the four starters we lost all from last year's team. That's a lot. Probably around 80 percent of our scoring and rebounding from last year is gone so that is going to be quite a mountain to overcome. Its also an opportunity for some younger guys and some new guys to contribute."
On the Pirates' frontcourt this season::
"We are young there. We have all new faces there and guys that haven't played very much at all so that's a concern for it. Losing Erin (Straughn) hurt too. We thought we would have him back, but with injury he is going to be out as well. Now we are going to be playing some young guys and changing how we play. We might have to go small at times. We are just going to have to toy with some things as we try to learn our team over the next month and a half."
"Scheduling is an art form. We have been trying to get people to come here and play but it's been difficult. We always want to play ACC teams and we will have another opportunity to do that."
Junior Guard Paris Roberts-Campbell
On being in the Smith-Williams Center:
"It's awesome. We're in here all the time as you can see before practice people are getting up shots. I was in here this morning. It's always open, and you don't have to ever worry about anything. I just want to thank everyone who had something to do with it."
On the official start of practice:
"Everybody is just ready, and we're treating today like it is the first day of the season even though games don't start for another month. Everybody is focused and getting ready. We know it's going to be a long season.
On expectations for himself this season:
"I definitely expect a big season out of myself because I know how hard I've been working. I've been waiting for my time to come and I feel it's here now and I'm going to bring it everyday."
On things he did to get better over the summer:
"We've been working non-stop and just focused on the season and getting better. The freshman got here second session and they jumped right into it. I tried to hit the gym at least twice a day, either with different teammates, managers or by myself. I tried to prepare myself for the season as much as possible."
Sophomore Forward Marshall Guilmette
On his role for the upcoming season:
"It's going to be a lot different than last year. It's really going to be a team effort to fill in what we lost."
On the practice facility:
"It's awesome. You can come in and get up shots any time you want it's obviously a top flight facility, so we're all super excited."
Senior Guard Akeem Richmond
On the impact of the new practice facility:
"Its amazing to be able to come in 24/7. I know I come in here at 1 o'clock or 2 o'clock in the morning and put up a lot of shots. We don't have to wait on anybody. We can just get in and put up shots."
On the expectations for the season:
"We are just trying to progress and make this a better basketball program everyday. The coaches work hard and the players work hard. That's what we're going to continue to do so we can compete with any team like I know we can.""
Sophomore Guard Prince Williams
On expectations for himself
"Coming in and trying to fill the shoes of Miguel (Paul) is going to be tough, but I think I'm ready for the challenge. I have been working to improve my offense and defense, so that whatever coach needs me to do to help the team win I can do it."
On his focus during the offseason:
"My shot. I have been trying to be more consistent and being able to knock down the 3 so that teams will have to guard me. I can take it into the lane and take it up myself or dish it to others, but I need to find some consistency in my shot."