Keeping It Heel continues its preview of the 2020-21 UNC basketball program with freshman point guard Creighton Lebo. He begins his career at North Carolina 31 years after his father, Jeff, graduated from the school.
Creighton Lebo joins the North Carolina basketball program in 2020 as a preferred walk-on, choosing to play for Roy Williams and the Tar Heels over a few Ivy League schools that showed interest in him, as well as a number of Division II institutions.
“I’ve always wanted to go to UNC,” Lebo said at the time of his decision. “I’ve dreamed about playing for Coach (Roy) Williams and to be a part of that family atmosphere at Carolina. To be a walk on was something I wanted to do for a long, long time.”
He’s the son of former UNC shooting guard Jeff Lebo, who played under legendary head coach Dean Smith from 1985 to 1989, and shot 42.8 percent from three-point range and 83.9 percent from the free throw line. While both numbers remain in the top-five of the rich history of UNC basketball, the younger Lebo looks to make his own legacy in Chapel Hill. It’s one that will have to begin with patience, and understanding that there are a handful of back court players that’ll get the nod before him
A 6-foot-1, 160-pound point guard, Lebo played his high school ball at Greenfield School in Wilson, North Carolina. He was tasked with replacing former UNC standout and one-and-done player Coby White after he graduated in 2018 — a difficult task for even the best of guards. His head coach, Rob Salter, was extremely impressed with him, though.
“He’s a fantastic player,” Salter told Inside Carolina. “It’s been an honor to coach him. He’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever coached, a typical coach’s son. He understands the game and his basketball IQ is off the charts. What I like about him is that he’s not afraid to step on toes. He loves working and he’s going to come in and push every one of his teammates He just knows how to play, where to be defensively, and he’s not afraid to knock you down or get knocked down. One of the reasons we’ve been so successful is because he makes the little plays to help us win ball games.”
Lebo joins a pair of other recruited walk-ons that are sons of former UNC stars in K.J. Smith and Ryan McAdoo, each of which chose their current path over others that would have offered considerably more playing time. For them, playing at North Carolina and for Roy Williams was simply too much to pass up.
“I was in elementary school and I went to Roy Williams’s basketball camp,” Lebo said. “I beat Coach (Hubert) Davis in a free-throw shooting contest.”
What to Expect in 2020-21
Let’s not get carried away with expectations for young Lebo in his first season at North Carolina. He sits behind a myriad of players with basketball ability and acumen out the ears, including 5-star point guard Caleb Love, 4-star combo guard R.J. Davis, freshman shooting guards Anthony Harris and Kerwin Walton, and a few others. Lebo will practice hard, learn lots and see every single game from the UNC sideline, but he’s not likely to get a ton of playing time.
I’m not going to be incredibly bold with any Creighton Lebo predictions this season. We’ve seen this before at North Carolina. Lebo will play his part, and he’ll be a team player throughout the process. He’s aware of what he signed up for, and how he fits into the system. But make no mistake, Lebo is a solid point guard that will get better over the next four years, and will work hard to see playing time at his dream school.
Check back with Keeping It Heel for more player previews as we continue to count down the days until the start of the UNC basketball season.