Jeff Lebo: Practice Comments

Inside ECU Sports visited East Carolina's basketball practice. Here are head coach Jeff Lebo's comments as the team prepares to travel to Middle Tennessee and UAB.

How has practice been the last few days?

We've been working hard. The kids have been working awfully hard. Their attitudes have been great. It's been frustrating not to win, but that's going to be a challenge for us here on out. We've put ourselves in position in the last few weeks, but we haven't been able to, in the second half, finish them out. That's been an emphasis for us. We look at the other games and they're all pretty similar. Stats, from first half to second half, there's a drastic difference.

In particular the last six minutes of the game. That's when we haven't had a guy we can go to for a basket. We missed a lot of shots there. We miss a guy like Miguel Paul, Maurice Kemp, even Ty Armstrong. Those are three guys we can go to in multiple positions to score. We struggle there and, offensively, I thought it was going to be a challenge. We got to the free-throw line a lot early in the season and we haven't gotten there much here in conference play.

How are you working them hard but keeping them fresh at the same time?

I just believe in working them hard. We will cut back maybe some time, but I just believe we're about getting better and about improving. And, to do that, you've got to go at a game-like pace. We've been physical at practice. Practices here, we've got more bodies when we're home. They've been great in practice. We've got more bodies, so it's kind of like going out half-naked to the game. You just don't have everybody and it's frustrating.

Do you expect Caleb White to be that complementary scorer for you?

You know, it's not his personality. We need him to be more aggressive. We've talked to him about being aggressive, but he's a freshman. He wants to share the ball. He wants to pass the ball. He wants to fit in, but he's in a position, as a freshman, where we need him to be more aggressive and be an aggressive scorer for us. That's a hard thing to ask of any freshman at this level to come in and do. He's done really good with it and he had a great first half against Southern Miss. I thought he fatigued in the second half. He looked a little beat down. This is a time, as a freshmen, that you typically hit that wall. We're going to have to ask him to plow through it. We've called him a sophomore at this point. He's played enough games and experienced a lot of minutes. He's doing great, but to ask the freshman, that's a lot. No doubt about it. But he's taken on that role pretty well.

How are you guys preparing for Middle Tennessee?

Well Middle, they're physical. They went 19-1 in the league. I think they've won 33 in a row at home. That was broken this year. I think they've lost maybe one at home this year. They've won maybe 40 of 41 at home. It's a difficult place to play. They have four terrific seniors that have been through the tournament and have been through the wars. We're preparing for a lot of pressure. A lot of physicality and different types of defenses and changing defenses.


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