TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
January 17, 2012
Relations File Photos)
Bonesville features writer Ron Cherubini
conducted one-on-one interviews with East Carolina
offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley (left) and
Pirate defensive boss Brian Mitchell (right).
Links to the wide-ranging Q&A sessions:
Lincoln Riley Q&A
Brian Mitchell Q&A
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Bonesville Mobile Alpha version of this page.
Saturday proved to be one
long, tough day at the office for East Carolina basketball coach Jeff
First, Lebo was dealing
with news that Austin Steed had been ruled academically ineligible for
the rest of the season.
This certainly isn’t your
normal student-athlete with academic issues.
Steed earned his
bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in just three
and a half years. He then joined the Pirate program as a graduate
student with one year of eligibility remaining.
Steed just missed out on
staying in the graduate program with a 3.00 grade point average.
"I'm very proud of my
academic accomplishments at the University of South Carolina and was
working diligently toward similar achievements at East Carolina
University with a 2.85 GPA and 21 hours of completed coursework," Steed
said in a statement released by the university on Saturday. "I'm
disappointed that I will no longer have the opportunity to be a part of
the basketball program and equally disappointed that I fell short of the
goal of completing my graduate degree.”
Lebo was particularly
upset with the news.
"This is one of the
saddest days of my coaching career," said Lebo in that same statement.
"It is extremely disappointing that Austin Steed will not be able to
complete his final semester of eligibility and earn a graduate degree,
while wearing a Pirate basketball uniform. Austin represents all the
positive qualities of a student-athlete you strive to recruit as a
Steed had played in all 15
games so far this season. His size inside was sorely missed this past
The second part of Lebo’s
long day centered around a very tall and physical Tulsa basketball team.
The Golden Hurricane came
to Greenville and blitzed the Pirates to the tune of a 22-4 first half
lead. Lebo’s Pirates battled back and actually had a chance to tie the
game at the buzzer
before falling 70-67.
"We battled and clawed to
do everything to get back into the game and we just weren't able to make
some plays,” said Lebo after the loss. [Select
and replay postgame audio in new window] “We shot at such
a poor percentage. We are not going to be able to do that and beat good
teams. We are going to have to shoot the ball at higher than 30 percent.
"In the second half, we
had a couple of big ones that we didn't make or didn't hit. They are a
good defensive team."
East Carolina continued a
trend on Saturday where it falls way behind early on, and then has to
work to get back into the game. This Pirate team deserves credit for not
quitting when things looked bleak so early in the game against the
"I thought we battled
hard, but again we dug ourselves into a big hole,” said Lebo. “Tulsa
played really well to start. We had some great looks early, but we just
couldn't make anything.”
Lebo’s Pirates hit the
road this week with a trip to the Lone Star State to take on UTEP and
Houston. East Carolina then returns home for the rematch with Southern
held on against the Pirates
78-76 on January 4th.
Things certainly don’t get
easier. Lebo can only hope the experiences from these first three
Conference USA losses pay dividends as this team looks to improve and
play its best basketball come March.
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01/17/2012 02:49 AM