Men's Basketball Moves Downtown

March 9, 2005

ORLANDO - A professional feel was in the air when the UCF men's basketball team hit the floor for practice on Wednesday afternoon. Instead of working out on their home court, the Golden Knights practiced at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Downtown Orlando.

Due to a scheduling conflict at UCF Arena, the squad was forced to move to a different venue. The Golden Knights are preparing for the NCAA Tournament after claiming their second consecutive Atlantic Sun Championship last Saturday.

Practicing in the NBA facility might give the Golden Knights an advantage as they prepare to play on the national stage.

"This is more of the type of arena that we will play in at the NCAA Tournament," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "It will give our guys a chance to get a feel for a bigger arena."

The arena's usual tenant, the Orlando Magic, was on the road, playing at Toronto on Wednesday night.

UCF's players worked on ball handling and participated in a scrimmage during their two-hour session.

The NBA floor was familiar to a trio of Golden Knights. Sophomores Carlton Christian, Dave Noel and Mike O'Donnell, who are all sitting out this season after transferring, played together in the Florida-Georgia All-Star game at the arena in 2003.

Unlike UCF Arena, which features walls behind each basket, the TD Waterhouse Centre has bowl seating. As a result, the players experienced shooting with an unfamiliar background.

"This [building] is what we will be playing in next week," said junior Troy Lindbeck. "This helps us for next week and adds a different dimension to our games. We can get a lot of shots up here and see what it is like to shoot at a different venue."