UCF Fastbreak - Jan. 17

Jan. 17, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF sophomore forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla./Palm Harbor University) does not have to go far to get advice about sitting out the season as a transfer. The 6-foot-9 Tyler, who played at Clemson last year, has two teammates who know what he is experiencing.

Due to NCAA rules, Tyler cannot participate in any games for the Knights in 2007-08.

UCF senior guards Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) and Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) both sat out the 2004-05 campaign after transferring from UNC-Wilmington and NC State, respectively. Both players have been happy to provide Tyler with insight about the initial season after transferring, which includes practicing as a part of the Knights' scout team.

"I told him that your redshirt year is really difficult. If you love basketball, you absolutely hate it," said O'Donnell. "Dave and I tried to approach every practice like it was a game. We couldn't play in the games, so our practices became the games."

Tyler played in 30 contests as a freshman with Clemson a year ago, averaging 1.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in five minutes per game. He appeared in all five of the Tigers' games at the postseason National Invitation Tournament.

With the Knights, Tyler has been using his transfer year to work on his individual skills and also gain information about head coach Kirk Speraw's offensive and defensive schemes.

"I have been using this year to learn the system," he said. "I will be more prepared for next year. I am taking it as a learning experience."

When his teammates and coaches are on the road, Tyler passes the time by lifting weights and working on his shooting at the new UCF Arena.

Next season, Tyler will be one of two transfers on the roster as freshman guard Jahaziel Howard (Atlanta, Ga./Southwest Atlanta Christian) recently joined the program after attending Oral Roberts.

The Knights' next game is set for Saturday at East Carolina. On Wednesday, Jan. 23, the squad hosts UTEP at the new UCF Arena at 7 p.m.

With seven home Conference USA contests remaining for the Knights, the UCF Athletics Association is offering a pair of ticket deals. The C-USA Pack includes tickets to all seven of the league games for $105.

The 3-Point Pack provides fans with tickets to games against UAB (Jan. 30), Houston (Feb. 2) and Rice (March 1) for $39. That package also includes a ticket to the UCF women's game versus East Carolina prior to the men's contest on Feb. 2.

Call 407-UCF-1000 to learn more about the ticket packages. 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: The Knights will practice on Thursday afternoon inside the new UCF Arena. On Friday morning, the team will head to North Carolina... Averaging 1.9 steals per game, O'Donnell leads C-USA in the statistical category.