Q&A With Kirk Speraw Part I

Kirk Speraw

The Golden Knights Men's Basketball will open the 2003/2004 season with a great deal of youth and new faces. With so many unknowns, perhaps the only thing predictable about this season is probably that it will be unpredictable. Knights News sit down with UCF Men's Basketball head coach Kirk Speraw and talks about his team.

Q:  Coach, last season was a successful season.  Although your team didn't get to the "Big Dance," they did, however, tying a school-record of 21-win season.  What is your expectation for this team this season?


A: It was a good season, setting the school's record for victories last year.  We'll try to take that and build on it.  This year we've got a number of people returning from last year squad they can give us leadership.  Roberto Morentin, Dexter Lyons, Josh Bodden seniors that really had a good career here and they're going to be expected to lead us this year.  But we kind of injected a number of new faces into the program and hopefully they come in and we can mesh the two phases together and come up with pretty exciting basketball team.      



Q:  The Atlantic Sun preseason polls predicted your team to finish 4th in the south division.  Do the polls have any validity to the team and is that where you want your team to be at this point?


A:  You know the preseason poll doesn't hold a whole lot of water you know.  I think a year ago we were picked to finish like seventh, sixth seven eight or something like that and we played in the championship game.  You know the poll doesn't mean a whole lot.  It's just kind of interesting media thing but we don't concern ourselves with that.  That's (4th place) not where we end up which is the most important thing.  We just wan to concentrate on the things that we have control over.  And we don't have control over other people opinions about us.  We can always control the efforts and the executions we have each and everyday out in the practice floor and that's why we're trying to focus ourselves. 


Q:  Dexter Lyons reminds a lot of people of Darrel Armstrong (New Orleans Hornets) for his high intensity and energy on the court.   He was a huge contributor for the team last season.  On his first game at UCF, everyone saw Dexter immediately injected energy into the team.  He clearly was a leader among leaders for the team last season, and obviously you will count on him to do the same this season.  Did you expect to see all the energy that Dexter Lyons displayed on the court and is he going to elevate his energy this year?


A:  Well, we recruited Dexter to bring a lot of intensities, competitiveness, and toughness to this basketball team.   Really, from the time that we recruited him to the time he stepped on the floor last year the circumstance has change and his role really changed.  He had to take on a bigger role then what we saw when we recruited him.  He handled well.  He had a good year but we also ended up playing him on the perimeter a lot more than what we maybe recruited him as.  He maybe wasn't ready skill wise to play small forward spot.  But he worked very hard in individually workouts since he got on campus he is much prepared now to play on the perimeter then he was a year ago.  I think people will see a lot of the same things from Dexter but a much better basketball player. 


Q:  You got a lot of new faces on the team this year.  Would comment on the freshmen and if they will have a chance to play this year?   


A:  They all have an opportunity to earn time.  We recruited a number of junior college kids, Kingsley Edward, Garry Johnson, and Marcus Avant.  I can count on those guys been integral part to what we do on the basketball floor.  One freshman, Josh Peppers, come in and he's a talented kid from Memphis.  I think he has a big upside.  He's going to be an exciting player for us over the course of time.  He just got to make that normal transition from high school to Division I.  It's not always an easy jump to make.  But he's doing well.  I think all of those guys will come in and they each will give something a little different.  We just have to integrate their skills into what we already have.


Q:  The tallest player you have on the roster is redshirt freshman Ben Stout who is 7-1 ft.  Stout did not play for your team last year but he had learned a lot from watching the team in practices and games.  Would you talk about his skills and how has he improved since last season.


A:  He still got a lot of maturing to do physically.  He's getting stronger and he's working very very hard n the weight room.  We're trying to put him on diet and keep him on diet that will help him gain some weight.  He just has a metabolism that make it very tough or him to do that.  He's making good progress and he's a hard worker he wants to be a good player.  It just going to be over the course of time you'll continue to see him improve.  He'll improve small step at a time.  He battles it everyday and that's what he has to do if he wants to be a good player.


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