Jeff Lebo Practice Comments

IES was at ECU basketball practice Friday and caught up with Head Coach Jeff Lebo to discuss Saturday's game against Old Dominion.

How important was it to have a week off prior to beginning Conference USA play?

"It's an odd time to have a week off because we're not in school, but that's the way the schedule works. We took two days off, practiced for three, took another day off and then came back for two to get ready for Old Dominion. In our practices, (it is) so hard to simulate anything. We're down two more guys in practice and we're down to 10 guys to have a college practice. If we lose one more, we're down to four-on-four and last I checked, you play five on the court. So that could be an issue."

Talk about the play of point guard Antonio Robinson, who has 19 assists to just three turnovers since becoming a starter.

He takes care of the basketball. He's smart, he's heady, he's pretty good at seeing plays happen before they happen and he continues to get better. I think he's a kid who has really improved from the beginning of the season to (now)."

How important is it to have success in the early stages of league play?

"We're just trying to win a game. That's what we are trying to do … That's the most important thing. That's coach-speak, but that's how we approach it and that's how I've always approached it. If you win one, that's one less that you can lose."

How weird do you think Saturday's game will be for freshman forward Brandan Stith, whose father, Bryant, is an assistant coach for ODU?

"That's really odd. I know I've played for my father, but I've never had a situation where I've had to play against him. So it'll be interesting. I know he competes hard against his dad probably in everything just like I do. In golf, I want to kick his butt and when I don't, I'm not too happy. I know Bryant is really excited to see him play and he's excited to watch him. I think he's gotten to scout this game and that gave him the ability to see him play in some games. I'm sure the feeling will be funnier probably for him than it will be for Brandan."

What do you expect the grind of conference play to be like for the team coming off a long lay-off?

We'll feel the grind as we start back into school, when we start playing and we start to travel a little bit. We haven't traveled, so we've been here and it hasn't been too bad. Once school starts and you get into the routine of your classes and you got study hall and practice and your preparation and your travel, that's when the grind will come in. It will be in full force in the next couple weeks and with a young team, I am concerned with that."

Is it fair to say Michael Zangari is playing his best basketball of his career?

"Well, he's played better. There's no doubt about it. He's got the ability to play through mistakes and he knows he is going to play. I think he has gotten better and better. I think his left hand has improved from not having one to it (being) better than his right hand right now. It's a tribute to him and his hard work. He's got a lot of areas he can get better, but I really like the improvement and he's done a nice job for us up to date. He has to rebound the ball better than us and that's an area we've talked to him about."

Who are the two players that you have lost?

"Peyton (Robbins) can't go with a groin injury. We've had one go down with a concussion, (Winston Salem State transfer Michel Nzege)."

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