UCF Basketball Heading Overseas

Aug. 7, 2005

ORLANDO - Following 10 days of practice, the UCF men's basketball team is set to embark overseas for its European tour. The Golden Knights leave Orlando on Monday morning to play six games against foreign professional teams before returning to campus on Aug. 19.

Head coach Kirk Speraw's team will start its trip in Holland and then make a short stop in Belgium before concluding the visit in France. All seven of UCF's returning letterwinners are headed to Europe, in addition to sophomore transfers Dave Noel and Mike O'Donnell. Incoming freshman and junior college transfers are ineligible to make the trip.

The Golden Knights kicked off practice for the tour on July 29, working mostly on conditioning and fundamentals. Since that first session, the team has worked on new plays and systems.

"The team has added more and more each day," said Speraw. "We are looking forward to getting over to Europe and play some competitive games."

Since incoming players are ineligible to participate, the Golden Knights turned to a pair of former UCF standouts to help during practice. Kingsley Edwards and Gary Johnson, who recently completed their eligibility at UCF, joined the squad for the majority of the practices. Both players earned their college degrees in a ceremony at UCF Arena on Saturday.

Overseas, the team will have to adapt to international rules. During their practice sessions on campus, the Golden Knights have played on courts that featured a trapezoid lane and the international three-point line, which is nine inches behind the college line. UCF has also played with a 24-second shot clock.

Other international rule differences include four, 10-minute periods and back-court violations called after eight seconds. Another major distinction in the international game is that touching the ball above the cylinder is not prohibited.

"We are still used to the regular rules," said senior Marcus Johnson. "We are kind of taking it day-by-day and getting and more getting more familiar with the international rules."

In Europe, the Golden Knights will have opportunities to sightsee and learn local cultures.

While the team is overseas, fans can visit www.UCFathletics.com for game recaps and photo galleries.

UCF European Tour Game Schedule

Aug. 9: vs. TBD (Holland)

Aug. 10: vs. MSV Noordwijk (Holland)

Aug. 12: vs. Gent Dragons (Belgium)

Aug. 13: vs. Poissy (France)

Aug. 14: vs. Vanves Basket (France)

Aug. 17: vs. Golfe-Juan (France)