UCF Fastbreak - Oct. 12

Oct. 12, 2007

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Although most UCF fans are thinking about football this weekend, the 2007-08 basketball campaign officially began on Friday evening as the Knights' men's squad held its first practice of the year. Head coach Kirk Speraw's team practiced for three hours at the new UCF Arena.

The inaugural session was no different from the Knights' first practice each year. Speraw guided his team through one defensive drill after another. Prior to the session, Speraw could not hide his enthusiasm for the upcoming campaign.

"We are so excited about this season," said Speraw. "We have a great group of guys who are all working hard out there. Tonight is the beginning of a long season. We have a lot of things we need to improve on and get better on as a team."

The Knights open the regular season, and make their debut at the 10,000-seat new UCF Arena, on Nov. 11 against Nevada. The squad will play a pair of exhibition contests at the venue before opening the year. Speraw is thrilled about his team's new home.

"This is one of the top arena's in the country. This is going to be a great place to watch college basketball. Every seat is a great one and I think our fans are really going to enjoy watching our team play here."

UCF returns nine letterwinners, including three starters, from last year's team that went 22-9 overall and 11-5 to finish second in Conference USA. The Knights were tabbed seventh in the league's preseason poll.

Season tickets are currently available by calling 407-UCF-1000. One lucky season ticket holder for will get to drive home from the new UCF Arena in a brand new Mazda CX-9, courtesy of Classic Mazda, the presenting sponsor of this year's season ticket drive. UCF fans who purchase two season tickets be entered into a drawing to win the Mazda CX-9.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel, log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out www.ucfphotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Notes: Senior guard Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) was understandably drowsy on Friday. Yesterday, he joined Speraw at the C-USA Media Day in Memphis, Tenn. The pair left for the event early Thursday morning and did not return to the UCF campus until 11:30 p.m. that night... UCF's volleyball team played Tulsa at the arena prior to the basketball practice. Speraw watched some of the match from the stands... Several UCF fans stayed following the volleyball match to watch the first hour of practice... Senior forward Will Bakanowsky (Gibbsboro, N.J./Camden Catholic) practiced with the Knights for the first time in almost two years. Bakanowsky, who missed the 2005-06 campaign due to injury, was recently granted an additional year of eligibility from the NCAA.