UCF Men's Basketball Summer Preview

GO KNIGHTS Dave Diakite is one of several young, talented players on the UCF roster this season.
Dave Diakite is one of several young, talented players on the UCF roster this season.

July 17, 2009

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - With an abundance of underclassmen, the UCF men's basketball team will have a young and exciting look in 2009-10. Thanks to an impressive recruiting class, plus the return of several key letterwinners, the Knights should be fun to watch this season.

Season tickets for the campaign are currently on sale. New season ticket orders are currently being accepted by the UCF ticket sales office at (407) UCF-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com. Head coach Kirk Speraw's team will open the slate on Nov. 13, hosting UMass at the UCF Arena.

UCF's complete schedule will be announced soon. Single-game tickets are slated to go on sale in the fall.

Fans looking to learn more about the arena's premium seating options, including club seats, courtside tables and suites, should contact the UCF ticket sales office.

Youth Movement
• For the second-straight season, UCF will again be one of the youngest squads in the nation
• The roster includes 10 underclassmen and only four upperclassmen
• Six freshmen, including two redshirts, are listed on the roster
• UCF has no scholarship seniors and just two scholarship upperclassmen
• Last season, UCF was the fifth-youngest team in the country

Top-Notch Recruiting Class
• Head coach Kirk Speraw and his staff landed the top recruiting class in program history
• ESPN.com and Scouts, Inc., listed UCF's class as the seventh-best "non-BCS" group in the country
• Led by forward Keith Clanton, who was rated as the 68th-best senior in the country by Rivals.com, the class also features Nik Garcia, Marcus Jordan and R.J. Scott



Replacing Jermaine
• An All-America selection, Jermaine Taylor handled most of the scoring duties a year ago for UCF, ranking third nationally at 26.2 points per game
• The shooting guard, who was named the 2008-09 Conference USA Player of the Year, was selected 32nd overall in the 2009 National Basketball Association Draft by Washington, and was then traded to Houston
• Taylor averaged 29.1 points in C-USA action and earned a spot on the Basketball Times All-America Third Team
• UCF's coaching staff does not expect one player to take over Taylor's scoring role
• Instead, they hope that several players show off improved games in 2009-10

Follow the Leader
A.J. Rompza to take the reigns of the team
• The diminutive point guard is not afraid to be a vocal leader
• A Conference USA All-Freshman Team pick in 2008-09, he ranked 32nd nationally in assists per game at 5.1
• He averaged 4.3 points per game last year, but with Taylor (and his 26.2 points per game) now gone, expect Rompza to look more for his own shot

Going Deep
• UCF has one of the nation's top 3-pointer shooters in sophomore guard Isaac Sosa
• He connected on 57 treys as a freshman, shooting 45.2 percent
• Sosa made eight starts at shooting guard and averaged 8.2 points
• He spent the summer of 2009 competing for Puerto Rico at the FIBA U19 World Championship in New Zealand
• The shooting guard helped Puerto Rico place sixth at the 16-team tournament as he averaged 9.6 points in nine contests
• Sosa shot 46.2 percent from deep, hitting 18 triples
• He had two of his best games in Auckland at the start of the tournament
• Sosa shot 4-of-6 from deep and totaled 18 points in Puerto Rico's win over Lithuania to open the event
• The following day, he made 6-of-7 attempts from 3-point range and finished with 20 points versus Greece

The Upper Hand
• One of the few upperclassmen on the team, junior forward A.J. Tyler will be expected to provide more offense and rebounding for the Knights
• In his first year of action at UCF after transferring from Clemson, he averaged 7.1 points and 4.4 boards last season
• Tyler made nine starts at power forward and shot 53.7 percent from the field

Welcome Back
• UCF will have the services of redshirt freshman forward Dave Diakite in 2009-10
• The athletic Diakite appeared in just five contests before suffering a season-ending injury in late November
• The Washington, D.C., product averaged 2.2 points and 3.6 boards and grabbed at least five boards in three of the five contests he played in

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.