ECU Holds First Basketball Practice
Oct. 15, 2010
GREENVILLE, N.C. --- The Jeff Lebo Era at East Carolina quietly got underway Friday as the men's basketball team held its first official practice at North Campus Crossing.
"You do so many other things, especially in transition, and now finally you get a chance to get on the court and coach," Lebo told the Greenville Daily Reflector. "It was fun today. The kids were good. They had some energy, some enthusiasm and we've got some things we can build upon."
Lebo, who was introduced as head coach March 23, directed his team through a two-hour workout, the first of 24 days of practice before the Pirates open the regular season Nov. 12 against Erskine.
"Games come quickly and we've got to continue to build," Lebo explained. "Over the next few days we'll spend a lot of our time on our man-to-man defense. Over half of practice today was teaching the principles of our [defense].
"We want to work on our fast break early and then some simple offensive things that we want to do, but mainly man-to-man."
The coaching staff is going to put a heavy emphasis on defense after the Pirates ranked 11th in the league in scoring defense and ninth in field goal percent defense last season.
"We've got to get them to set the bar for themselves and for our team a little bit higher," said explained. "We've got to be able to push through some adversity and we're going to put them in some adverse situations in practice and see how they respond."
Senior All-Conference USA guard Brock Young has already set the bar for assists at ECU. The school's career assists leader, Young has led Conference USA in assists each of the last two seasons and is on pace to become the conference's all-time assist distributor. Young, the Pirates' leading scorer last season (15.5 ppg), is also in pursuit of his 1,000th -point which would make him the 24th player in school history to reach the milestone.
On the receiving end of many of those assists the last two seasons has been senior forward Jamar Abrams. Abrams, who could also join the 1,000-point club this season, returns as the team's best outside shooter and most versatile athlete. Abrams saw his scoring average (11.1 ppg) go up for a second straight season and ranked among the top 10 C-USA shooters in 3-point field goals made per game.
The Pirates also welcome back seniors Jontae Sherrod and Chad Wynn. Sherrod scored double figures in 16 games last season after netting double figures just twice in his first two seasons. Wynn, a fifth-year senior plagued by injures throughout his career, is looking to become more consistent around the basket. He scored double figures eight times against non-conference competition but failed to net double figures against conference foes and missed the final four games with an injury.
The Pirates return an additional six letterwinners from a year ago and welcome three newcomers. Among the returnees are juniors DaQuan Joyner and Darrius Morrow, who led C-USA in field percentage, along with sophomores Corvonn Gaines and Erin Straughn.
"We are trying to work on our chemistry and learn how to play the Coach Lebo way," Morrow said. "It's a different style of play than what we are used to, but it hasn't been that hard making adjustments to the way he wants to play-up-tempo, fast-paced and good defense."
East Carolina plays its lone exhibition game of the season in three weeks as it hosts Montreat on Nov. 5
Season tickets are currently on sale beginning at $100. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling the ECU Ticket Office at 1-800-DIAL-ECU (342-5328).