Pirates Hold First Official Practice Of The New Season

UABSPORTS.COM Marshall Guilmette and Yasin Kolo
Marshall Guilmette and Yasin Kolo

Oct. 13, 2012

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GREENVILLE, N.C. --- The East Carolina men's basketball team took the court at North Campus Crossing on Saturday for its first official practice of the 2012-13 season. The Pirates begin their odyssey in 28 days when they open the regular season against Washington & Lee on Nov. 10 inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.

"It's a very exciting time for everyone around college basketball to officially get started," said Pirate head coach Jeff Lebo, who is entering is third season on the ECU bench. "It's exciting to have a lot of bodies out there. We are very experienced in the backcourt, with everyone having been involved with our program for at least a year. However, we are very inexperienced inside. We've got great size, but its very inexperienced."

East Carolina returns nine letterwinners from last year's 15-16 squad that finished the season winning three of its final four games and nearly upset NCAA Tournament participant Southern Miss in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Championship. Among the list of returnees are five seniors: Shamarr Bowden, Corvonn Gaines, Maurice Kemp, Miguel Paul and Erin Straughn.

"Our seniors are going to have to step up and emerge as leaders," Lebo said. "They understand how hard we expect them to work everyday."

Paul, who was a second-team All-Conference USA performer in 2011-12, returns as the league's second-leading scorer (15.2 ppg) and its top assist distributor (5.9 apg). Kemp is the Pirates' second-leading returning scorer after averaging 10.5 points per game during his first season donning the purple and gold, while Bowden ranked fifth in the league with 2.1 3-point field goals per game.

Also returning for the Pirates are guards Paris Roberts-Campbell and Petar Torlak along with forward Robert Sampson.

"We do have a veteran group of guys as far as being in our program," Lebo stated. "Twelve of the guys on our roster were here last year and even if they weren't able play, they were able to practice and observe how we do things."

The Pirates will activate a trio of players that were either sidelined by injury or sat out due to transfer rules in redshirt freshmen Yasin Kolo, Auburn transfer Ty Armstrong and Richmond transfer Akeem Richmond. Kolo was inactive due to a foot injury, while Armstrong and Richmond had to sit out per NCAA rules.

Rounding out the roster are true freshmen Marshall Guilmette and Michael Zangari along with non-scholarship players Francis Edosomwan, Peyton Robbins and Prince Williams.

Season tickets are currently on sale for $100. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date to be announced. Tickets can be purchasedby clicking here or by calling the ECU Ticket Office at 1-800-DIAL-ECU (342-5328).