Oct. 13, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. --- With the start of the 2011-12 season less than a month away, the East Carolina men's basketball team will hold its first official practice on Friday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum. Practices are closed to the public.
East Carolina head coach Jeff Lebo, who guided the Pirates to their first winning campaign in 14 years last season, has taken his team through several workouts since Sept. 15 when teams were allowed two hours per week of skill instruction.
"Our practices in the preseason have been competitive," Lebo said. "It's nice to come in this year and have veterans with an understanding of what's expected of them. The new guys can look at the older guys in drills during practice and see how it's supposed to be done. From that standpoint, I think we are moving in the right direction."
The Pirates have 22 practice sessions scheduled over the next five weeks before they play their first game on Nov. 11 against Milligan College and will spend much of their focus on improving areas in which they struggled last season.
"I think we're going to have to rebound the ball better defensively and not foul so much," Lebo explained. "At times we turned it over a bit too much last year. If we can take care of the basketball, we'll get high-percentage shots. We have some better speed and more depth this year than we did last year. Hopefully that will help."
East Carolina returns a trio of starters, led by preseason All-Conference USA forward Darrius Morrow (13.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg). Rejoining Morrow are juniors Corvonn Gaines (6.7 ppg, 3.1 assists) and Erin Straughn (5.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg), all of who started 33 games last season. A total of seven lettermen return for the new campaign and will be united on the floor with seven newcomers.
Fans will have the chance to "Meet The Pirates," on Saturday, Oct. 15. The event will include team introductions and skills competitions followed by an autograph session with the players and coaches. The festivities will also include with a slam dunk inflatable for kids and two novelty stations where fans can make koozies and street signs. ARAMARK concessions and a Dowdy Student Stores souvenir booth will also be open. Admission is free.