Sep 1, 2013, 8:27 PM EDT
It’s safe to say that this weekend was a productive one for East Carolina head coach Jeff Lebo.
This weekend the ECU head coach had two 2014 prospects on campus for official visits, and by Sunday Lebo had two verbal commitments as point guard Lance Tejada Jr. and forward Grant Bryant have both pledged to attend the school. Tejada and Bryant become ECU’s second and third commitments in the class, joining point guard B.J. Tyson.
Bryant, a 6-7 forward from Marietta, Ga., averaged 19.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game at Kell High School last season. His best outing came in a 94-93 overtime win over Osborne High School on January 9, as Bryant tallied an astonishing 50 points and 35 rebounds. As for Tejada, the Hollywood, Fla. product currently attends Blanche Ely High School where he averaged 11.9 points and 8.2 assists per game on a team that finished the 2012-13 season with a 27-2 record.
ECU adds four newcomers this season with one (guard Antonio Robinson) being a junior college transfer. Adding Tejada and Bryant to the fold gives the Pirates some much needed depth at both the point and in the front court.
Currently ECU has two players at the point: Robinson and senior Akeem Richmond, whose three-pointer as time expired gave the Pirates a 77-74 win over Weber State in the CollegeInsider.com tournament title game. With Richmond being out of eligibility after the 2013-14 campaign ECU needed to strengthen their numbers at the point, and receiving verbal commitments from Tejada and Tyson has done that.
As for the front court, ECU enters the 2013-14 season with just four options: freshman small forward Brandan Stith, sophomore power forwards Marshall Guilmette and Michael Zangari and senior Ty Armstrong. Armstrong (9.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Guilmette (4.0, 2.3) had roles in the rotation last season with Armstrong, who began his career at Auburn, starting all 35 games for ECU. With their low numbers inside it was clear that ECU needed to experience some recruiting success in this area, and landing a commitment from Bryant is certainly a step in the right direction.
ECU has one more season in Conference USA before moving to the American Athletic Conference, and while that league does have some traditional powers to build around (UConn, Cincinnati, Memphis and Temple) every program will need to pull its weight if the conference is to be respected nationally. With this weekend’s developments, the Pirates have improved their chances of doing so.
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