March 11, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Following UCF's morning practice at the new UCF Arena on Tuesday, senior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) was informed that he was selected to the Conference USA All-Defensive Team. Noel admitted that he was appreciative of being considered one of the top-five defensive players in the league.
"I am really proud of it. Especially because [defensive play] is not really big on the stat sheet," he said. "It feels good to be appreciated [for] doing the dirty work."
The C-USA office announced the all-defensive team in the morning and Noel was joined by Antonio Anderson and Joey Dorsey of Memphis, Mark Dorris of Marshall and Jerome Jordan of Tulsa. Noel, who became the first Knight to earn a spot on the all-defensive team since the program joined C-USA in 205, currently ranks 10th in the league in steals per game (1.3).
A year ago, Noel helped shut down C-USA Player of the Year Morris Almond in a pair of regular-season games against Rice. Despite the performances against Almond, who was selected in the first round of the National Basketball Association Draft by Utah, Noel did not garner a spot on the all-defensive squad.
On March 8 of this season at Houston, he helped limit the Houston's Robert McKiver to 15 points on 4-of-15 shooting from the floor. McKiver entered the contest 10th nationally in scoring at 23.1 points per game.
Surprisingly, Noel acknowledges that was not a great defensive player when he arrived at UCF in 2004 after spending his freshman campaign at UNC-Wilmington. He credits UCF head coach Kirk Speraw with challenging him to become a better defender.
Noel is quick to point out that playing defense is as much about determination as it is about technique.
"Sometimes you are not the quickest guy... sometimes you don't anticipate as good as the other guys. But if you have heart and are able to push yourself and work hard defensively, anybody can play defense."
The team left Orlando for Memphis, Tenn., and the C-USA Championship Tuesday afternoon. The Knights are seeded fourth at the championship and will open the event on Thursday against No. 5 Southern Miss or No. 12 Rice.
UCF (16-14) finished fourth in the C-USA regular-season standings and earned a first-round bye at the championship, which is being held at the FedEx Forum for the third-straight year.
The Knights' quarterfinal game on Thursday will begin at 9:30 p.m. EST. CSS will televise the game live regionally.
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Notes: On Wednesday, the Knights are slated to practice at the FedEx Forum at 9 a.m. EST... In Memphis, the team is staying at the new Westin Hotel, which is located across the street from the FedEx Forum.