NCAA BK

UNC alum Jeff Lebo bringing ECU to Chapel Hill

Share This Story

   
 

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP)

Jeff Lebo is bringing his East Carolina program to the same court where he starred for North Carolina under Dean Smith and Roy Williams.

Lebo's Pirates (6-1) are making their first trip to Chapel Hill on Saturday to play the No. 21 Tar Heels, while Lebo is facing his alma mater for the second time in 15 seasons as a head coach.

''It's exciting to go back and it's exciting for our players to give them an opportunity to play on that stage in that atmosphere,'' Lebo said Thursday afternoon. ''I think it's going to be really helpful to our team and to our players. I think it's something they'll remember and they're really looking forward to this game.''

Lebo, in his third season leading the Pirates, played at UNC (7-2) from 1985-89 under Smith. Williams was an assistant to Smith during Lebo's first three seasons before taking over at Kansas.

Despite being about 100 miles apart, the instate programs have met only twice before due to Smith's policy of not scheduling instate opponents. The only meeting during Smith's 36-year tenure came in the first round of the 1993 NCAA tournament.

Williams, now in his 10th season as UNC's coach, said Lebo first called asking if the Tar Heels would play the Pirates in ECU's Minges Coliseum.

''My deal is, we'll play, but I'm not going to go play on your court because we can't do that for everybody (instate),'' Williams said. ''If you're opening up a building or something like that, we'll try to help you. ... But they decided they wanted to come here and play, and it was pretty easy, a 15-minute conversation.''

The game will also be the first meeting between Lebo and Williams, though they had tried at least twice before to set up a game.

Williams' move to UNC in 2003 nixed a deal for Kansas to play at Chattanooga while Lebo was coach there. Williams later agreed to bring UNC to play Lebo at Auburn as the school opened a new arena - a plan that fell through once Lebo was fired in 2010.

Lebo's first game against UNC was an 85-59 loss in Chapel Hill while he was at Tennessee Tech during the 1999-2000 season.

''You've got to remember now: Coach is going to do anything for a lot of the former players that he can,'' Lebo said. ''There's so many of us now that are coaching in the state that he can return every game. It's impossible for him to do that. He tries to play as many and helps as many people. He's been unbelievably gracious to me, in tough times, too.

''He's had a lot of former guys come back and play there. Not a lot of us have won back there. He doesn't treat you too good once the game starts.''

As a player, Lebo helped the Tar Heels go 116-25 with two Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles and one tournament championship. Lebo's teams reached at least the NCAA round of 16 every year and twice made a regional final.

Lebo also played in the Smith Center's first game - a Duke-UNC rivalry matchup - as a freshman in January 1986. He ranks 24th in career scoring (1,567 points), second in career 3-point shooting percentage (42.8) and fourth in career free-throw shooting percentage (83.9) in program history.

East Carolina point guard Miguel Paul said he hadn't seen any extra excitement from Lebo or change in his coach's demeanor leading up to this one. Paul also didn't sound intimidated by the prospect of playing in the tradition-rich Tar Heels on their home court.

''We're excited, man,'' Paul said. ''We know how good they are and they're just a great program and the basketball tradition is very high there. So we're just planning on going in there and giving a good show and this is a big opportunity to get our name on the board, too.''

Tagged: East Carolina, Miguel Paul

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..