April 19, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF men's basketball head coach Kirk Speraw announced on Thursday that his program has received National Letters of Intent from two prep standouts - shooting guard Chris Baez, a local product from Kissimmee, and small forward Cordell Pope from Birmingham, Ala. The perimeter players will both join the Knights this fall as the program makes its debut at the new 10,000-seat Convocation Center on campus.
Both players are currently attending prep schools. Baez is enrolled at Lee Academy in Maine and Pope is attending Harmony Community School in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"We are excited to have Chris and Cordell joining our basketball team at such an exciting time in our program's development," said Speraw. "These two young men are versatile, well-rounded players and are both tremendous shooters."
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 175 pounds, Baez was a 2005-06 Florida Class 6A All-State Second Team selection as a senior at Gateway High School in Kissimmee. He averaged 25.2 points and 6.7 rebounds, was named the Osceola News-Gazette Player of the Year and was an Orlando Sentinel All-Central Florida Second Team pick.
Baez set a school single-game record with 50 points against Cypress Creek. As a junior, he earned Osceola News-Gazette All-County First Team honors.
This past year, the 6-foot-7, 185-pound Pope averaged 13.5 points, five assists and five rebounds. He attended Birmingham's Parker High School and was a 2004-05 Alabama All-State Class 5A Honorable Mention. The summer before his senior year, he was one of 30 players selected to participate in the Alabama All-Star Sports Week, an event which features the top players in the state.
UCF went 22-9 in 2006-07 and with an 11-5 mark, finished second in Conference USA. Following the regular season, Speraw was named the C-USA Coach of the Year.
The Knights have recorded 20-victory campaigns in four of the last five years. Since the start of the 2002-03 season, UCF has won 106 games, which ranks 31st nationally and second among all programs in Florida during that span.
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