GREENVILLE, N.C. --- The ECU men's basketball team held its first official practice of the 2017-18 campaign Sunday, Oct. 1, inside the Smith-Williams Center six weeks in advance of its season-opener.
"I'm excited to be back out with the guys," ECU Head Coach Jeff Lebo said. "It's a different feeling now because you can almost start before this date, so we've been on the floor a little bit. Now it's escalated and we can have a full practice, so it's an exciting time for us. We've got a lot of new faces and lot of things to cover, a lot of things to teach, but I'm looking forward to being out here with them and out here healthy with them."
The Pirates went through a full practice that included offensive and defensive drills as well as conditioning. ECU will practice again five more times this week before taking three days off for Fall Break next week.
ECU returns eight lettermen from last year's team, including starters Kentrell Barkley, Jeremy Sheppard and B.J. Tyson. Barkley led the Pirates in scoring (13.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg) and ranked second in assists (2.6 apg). Sheppard was named to The American All-Rookie team, averaging 9.2 points and 3.5 assists per game. Tyson is the second-leading returning scorer on the team after posting 9.6 points per game while missing eight games due to injury.
ECU will conduct 30 practices over 42 days leading up to its Nov. 12 season opener against Coppin State in the first game of the Showcase On The Banks. Four of the Pirates' first five games of the year are part of the Showcase with additional home games against Central Connecticut State and Cleveland State and a road contest at Rutgers part of the event.
The Pirates will play a record-tying 19 home games this season, including 10 inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum before Christmas. Among the opponents ECU will host this season are 2017 NCAA Tournament participants Cincinnati, SMU, UNCW and Wichita State.
Season tickets for the 2016-17 basketball campaign are now on sale through the ECU Ticket Office. To purchase tickets fans can utilize ECU's Online Ticket Center, reserve by phone (800-342-5328) or visit the ticket office.