Optimism and eagerness for the upcoming season was palpable during last Thursday’s East Carolina men’s basketball media day.
“It’s an exciting time of the year for basketball,” said ECU head coach Jeff Lebo. “Practices officially start and we’re very excited as the staff and our players are excited for the start of practice.”
In the offseason, Lebo was busy making additions to the team to help bolster the squad. Last season, a lot of areas were lacking the needed depth, particularly at inside positions.
“We’ve got a lot on new faces,” said Lebo. “There are 10 new guys that we will have on the roster this year, so we think we have added some things in some areas we felt we needed to have for this league, obviously we needed some size inside. We have some experience inside with Andre Washington.”
The Wake Forest graduate transfer, Washington, joined ECU over the summer and has one year of eligibility for the Pirates. Washington stands out in any room due to his size, standing at over 7 feet tall. Washington is excited to see what he can bring to the Pirates after playing in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference for a couple of years.
“I like the opportunity I have,” said Washington. “I was talking to the other players before I came here and they were really welcoming as a whole, so why not come to ECU. I can bring an interior presence, I like to block shots a lot. I’m not a selfish player and I just like to win. This is a really good league, I know a couple of ACC guys who have also transferred in, but I know I’ll be ready to play.”
Last season as a sophomore, guard B.J. Tyson led the team in scoring, averaging 14.6 points per game. He said he enjoyed seeing the team add bigger and more physical players.
With the Pirates losing starting point guard Prince Williams to graduation and backup point guards Lance Tejada and Charles Foster to transfer, there is a hole at the point. This season, Tyson could step up and take over the point guard position alongside Kentrell Barkley.
“Our team is a lot bigger,” said Tyson. “They’re a lot stronger, athletic, and better than what you would think by just looking at them. I feel like this year we’re going to have a lot of potential. At the point, I’ve got to facilitate. I’ve got to know where everyone is. It’s not as difficult as everyone thinks it is.”
Senior guard Caleb White will be a big leader for the upcoming season. Last year, he was the team’s second leading scorer with 12.5 points per game, while playing multiple positions. The additions to the team will likely allow White to play at his best potential.
“Last year, I was more in the front court battling bigger guys,” said White. “I think this year I’ll be back more in my natural position playing two guard, being able to use my movement and size on smaller guards. My freshmen year we had guys play the four position that were 6-foott-4, and now we have guys that are 6-foot-10, and to come in for him is another 6-foot-10 guy. There’s a lot more depth and a lot more talent.”