Oct. 9, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - As the 2007-08 UCF men's basketball season approaches, www.UCFathletics.com will take a look at the Knights, position-by-position. UCF opens the regular-season campaign on Nov. 11 against Nevada in the first game at the new UCF Arena. Season tickets are currently available by calling 407-UCF-1000.
The Knights will play 16 regular-season games at the new 10,000-seat facility. One lucky season ticket holder will get to drive home from the new UCF Arena in a brand new Mazda CX-9, courtesy of Classic Mazda, the presenting sponsor of this year's season ticket drive. UCF basketball fans that purchase two season tickets for this year's inaugural schedule at the new UCF Arena will be entered into a drawing to win the Mazda CX-9.
The winner of the CX-9 will be selected and announced on Nov. 24 during the UCF-UTEP football game at Bright House Networks Stadium. The vehicle will be on display at all UCF football home games and at Classic Mazda, which is located on 2075 North Semoran Boulevard in Orlando.
Today, www.UCFathletics.com will take a look at the squad's centers: junior Kenrick Zondervan (Hoofddorp, Holland) and seniors Stanley Billings (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge) and Will Bakanowsky (Gibbsboro, N.J./Camden Catholic).
After seeing limited time as a freshman, Zondervan earned the starting role in the middle prior to last season and averaged 3.9 points and 2.8 boards in 17.7 minutes in 2006-07. A hard-worker, the Holland native appeared more comfortable last season.
"Kenrick is willing to do whatever it takes for his team to be successful. He runs the floor very well for a post player and always gives it his all," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw.
Over the summer, Zondervan returned to his homeland to practice with the Dutch Senior National Team. He had the opportunity to compete against several professional players on a daily basis, including Francisco Elson, a power forward for the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association.
Last year, Billings was hobbled by injuries, but appeared in 26 contests as a reserve. He averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 boards, but paced the team in blocks (20) in his first year after transferring from Independence Community College (Kan.).
One of the oldest players in the nation, Billings brings a unique maturity to the Knights. After graduating from Oak Ridge High School in Orlando in 1996, he spent eight years in the Marines as a chef. Billings did not play organized basketball in high school and started playing the game while in the service.
"Stanley has a lot of life experience and brings a calm maturity to the team," said Speraw. "He is a great defensive player and his size creates a lot of difficulties for our opponents. Even if Stanley does not block a shot, he often alters the shot, which is a tremendous asset for our team."
Bakanowsky returns after a one-year hiatus. He played in 89 games for the Knights from 2002-05, but missed the 2005-06 campaign due to an injury. Bakanowsky graduated in the spring of 2006 and spent last year teaching in Jacksonville. A center who can step out the perimeter and hit from deep, he decided to return to school and use his final year of eligibility. Bakanowsky averaged 4.3 points and shot 40.3 percent from 3-point range as a junior in 2004-05.