For the first time since the end of last season, some members of the UCF men's basketball team suited up in their uniforms Thursday. The regular season is a month and a half away from tipping off and the Knights will travel to Tampa to take on in-state rival USF in their season opener on Nov. 10.
On Thursday, upperclassmen Keith Clanton, Isaiah Sykes, Calvin Newell and Tristan Spurlock took part in the team's first promotional photo shoot for the 2012-13 season.
"I feel like I'm really ready to go out and play," Clanton said. "I know this is my final season so I want to have my best effort. When we run out there we're going to give 100 percent."
The Orlando native is one of only two seniors on this year's squad. Last season, Clanton led the Knights in scoring and rebounding averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He was also an All-Conference USA First Team selection.
The team has several goals set for this season and is most focused on winning a Conference USA regular-season championship before the Knights move to the BIG EAST next season.
"Just playing the right way and going out there and running the system the way coach [Donnie] Jones wants and winning," said Spurlock. "Everyone came to UCF to win. We still have goals to accomplish. We want to be conference champs." The Knights' first home game will be Tuesday, Nov. 13, against Alabama State. It will be one of 20 home games for UCF.
"The fans are a huge support for us," said Spurlock. "When they're there and we have the crowd behind us and it's blacked out in the arena, it makes it really hard for other teams to play and concentrate."
UCF head coach Donnie Jones said this year's conference is the most balanced he's seen in his six years as a head coach in C-USA and is coaching his team to its full potential.
"Preseason workouts have been going really well," said Clanton. "Everybody is trying their hardest. Everybody is pushing everyone to get better and everybody wants to win. We're just coming in focused on the season."