East Carolina Pirates: Jeff Lebo Out for Hip Surgery Indefinitely


The East Carolina Pirates gained another level of adversity with the announcement that Coach Jeff Lebo will be missing time in hip surgery.

The East Carolina Pirates do not tip off until Sunday, but their basketball season just took an awkward jolt. Coach Jeff Lebo finally will have hip surgery Monday. That will take him out of action indefinitely right as the Pirates are biting into the meat of their American Athletic Conference schedule.

Lebo led the team through the non-conference part of the year well enough. The team had a couple of hiccups against Charlotte and Mercer, but the wins kept coming until they went on the road to Virginia. After losing to the Cavaliers, the Pirates dropped their next two games. They rebounded to win their non-conference finale against Presbyterian and their conference opener against South Florida.

It has been all downhill since. The Pirates have not seen another conference victory. The suffered blow outs in three of those four losses. Now Lebo leaves. Perhaps it is for the best. The team gets the opportunity to reset while Lebo gets the chance to deal with whatever nagging pain might have been affecting him.

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With the coach out, the Pirates will depend more on their team leaders. Junior B.J. Tyson currently leads the team in scoring with just under twelve a game. Senior Caleb White is scoring eleven per game. Both players need to raise their level in order to bring the team out of the decline that it has found itself in. That may open up more offense for Kentrell Barkley, also averaging near eleven points per game in the backcourt. The burden should not fall directly on them alone, but no one else on the team averages double digits.

The team did get a strong performance from Center Andre Washington against the Houston Cougars, and perhaps the team can get more post presence like that as the conference season progresses. If they do not then the AAC conference tournament most likely will not save them.