UCF Fastbreak - June 18

June 18, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - At the end of the spring semester, sophomore guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) was asked which player will surprise UCF fans with their play in 2009-10. Rompza quickly answered redshirt freshman guard Amara Thompson (Tucker, Ga.).

The 6-foot-4 Thompson spent this past season as a member of the Knights' scout team. Thompson says that he worked hard during the year on his overall game, especially "being strong with the ball and decision making."

Rompza calls Thompson "a defensive specialist." Playing on the scout team, Thompson was able to exhibit his defensive abilities on a daily basis against one of the nation's premier players in guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.). Taylor was third in the nation in scoring in 2008-09 at 26.2 points per game. He is now preparing for the National Basketball Association Draft.

In March, Taylor admitted that having Thompson guard him during practice helped him prepare for the tough defense that he saw in games. Thompson was just happy that he got to learn from the All-America selection.

" I think he would have had a great year without me there, but I would like to think that I aided in his success," Thompson said. "From Jermaine I learned to be confident and carry myself with a certain amount of confidence on the court. He definitely does. He has confidence in his game and confidence in his abilities."

Now that his redshirt year has ended, Thompson is looking forward to proving Rompza right this season.

"It is very exciting," he said about finally getting to play in games. "It is very motivational to me. I think about it every day."

Season-ticket deposits for the 2009-10 UCF men's basketball campaign are currently being accepted. For more information, visit UCFAthletics.com or call (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: On Thursday morning, UCF head coach Kirk Speraw is scheduled to speak on a panel at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Convention in Orlando. Alongside Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein, Duke women's basketball coach Joanne McCallie and Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffett McGraw, Speraw will discuss the views of coaches on trends and issues in the sport... The World Juniors Basketball Tournament concluded Sunday in France and sophomore guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) helped Puerto Rico to a second-place showing at the six-team event. In his squad's final game, Sosa totaled nine points and three 3-pointers in a victory over Australia.