UCF Fastbreak - Oct. 17

Oct. 17, 2008

Practice photo gallery

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The 2008-09 college basketball season officially began Friday evening as the Knights opened the campaign with a spirited three-hour practice on their practice court. Head coach Kirk Speraw's squad focused on fundamentals during the session.

Friday marked the first official college basketball practice for eight UCF freshmen. The group consists of seven true freshmen and redshirt freshman guard Chris Baez (Kissimmee, Fla.), who missed the entire 2007-08 campaign due to an injury.

Senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.), one of just four upperclassmen on the squad, helped get the practice underway by urging his teammates to play hard and get better.

In typical Speraw fashion, most of the emphasis during the session was on defense.

"This is the best time of the year for college basketball fans," Speraw said. "We are extremely excited about getting the season underway. We have a great group of young men who are enthusiastic and excited about the year."

The Knights were utilizing their practice court for the first time officially. The court features six baskets and is located inside the Venue at UCF. In past years, the Knights had to compete for court time with UCF's other programs.

Last season, UCF's first practice was held inside the new UCF Arena, starting around 9:30 p.m., following a volleyball match.

Several local media members attended the practice, getting their first look at this year's team.

The regular season campaign will begin in less than a month. The Knights' season opener is set for Nov. 16 against North Carolina A&T at the new UCF Arena. The team is slated to play 16 contests at the state-of-the-art facility in 2008-09. The slate includes a non-conference showdown with cross-state foe USF and a Conference USA game with national power Memphis.

Season tickets are currently on sale. To order your season tickets today, or to learn about the new Fastbreak Club and other premium seating options, call the UCF ticket sales office at (407) UCF-1000.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Notes: Freshman guard Dave Diakite (Washington, D.C.) provided a pair of highlight-reel worthy dunks during a full-court one-on-one drill... former standout guard Mike O'Donnell stopped by the practice to watch his former teammates. UCF's starting point guard from 2005-08, O'Donnell is currently a graduate assistant for the Golden Knights Club... Speraw and Taylor both attended C-USA Media Day in Memphis, Tenn., yesterday... the team is scheduled to practice twice on Saturday.