Jeff Lebo: Practice Comments

IES caught up with ECU men's basketball coach Jeff Lebo at practice before the Pirates flew out to El Paso. Here are his transcribed quotes.

With the Conference USA Tournament coming up next week, how is the team feeling?

"We obviously have to play better than we did in our last game. It was a frustrating game for us. Being unable to put the ball in the basketball has been a theme for us at times this year. When we played well this year, we've had good offensive balance … but our kids have been resilient and they'll be ready, I hope."

Your opponent in the first round in Texas-San Antonio, who you beat in February 81-71, and unlike many of your games, there wasn't much of a size disparity when you met. What have you seen from the Roadrunners?

"They've lost some games, but they have been competitive in a lot of games. I know in our game we had a big lead and they came back against us and cut it to maybe five or six. They got five seniors and those guys want to live to play another day. They missed a lot of easy shots around the first game, around the basket, and we got out in transition. We scored 81 in that game and that's a lot for us."

Is this team capable of making a deep run in this tournament?

"Well, anything can happen. It'll be hard for us because of our lack of depth and having to turn around, if we can win a game, and play a road game. We had that last year when we had a bye and had to play Tulsa at Tulsa in the tournament. So it's a tough draw, but in the game, anything can happen and our kids know that. I've talked to them about Syracuse when they won five games a couple years back in a row, but they're young and they're used to playing a lot of games."

Is there more of a sense of desperation with these guys considering they will need to win a couple games in the tournament in order to be a part of a postseason tournament?

"I don't know about desperation. They are not a group that handles a lot of pressure well, so we're just going out there to play and do what we've done in the past. We've just got to play better. We got to be able to score the ball and we're still banged up. Paris (Roberts-Campbell) is not 100 percent and that really hurts us there. That's the sixth person we have had hurt at that position."

Do you think the time change and the travel be any kind of a factor?

"Yeah, it's tough. We've got the daylight savings time, we'll be changing two time-zones, which is difficult, it's going to be a long trip out there, we've got to fly out of Raleigh to get out and we've got two flights to get there. So it's a tough, tough trip from the east, but we'll have a day to get acclimated, we'll have practice on Monday and then, we'll have a long wait on Tuesday, which is difficult."

Akeem Richmond became the 13th player in NCAA history to hit 400 3-pointers Thursday. What are your thoughts on that?

"That's a lot 3's. You look on the people on that list; it's an incredible grouping of guys who could shoot the basketball. He's a guy that really has to get it going for us. You look at the last game and a half, he struggled to shoot the basketball … so he's due to come out of that. We'll need him to shoot the ball at a high percentage for us, but he's had an incredible career shooting the basketball. When you're in the top 20 in NCAA history in shooting, that says something."

If you do not win the C-USA Tournament, would you explore the idea of playing in the Tournament again?

"Obviously, it will be something that we talk about if we can get in again."

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