UCF senior leads way for Knights basketball

Keith Clanton, Tristan Spurlock, and Isaiah Sykes were the main focus at the University of Central Florida Men’s Basketball media day on Monday at the team’s practice courts.UCF head coach Donnie Jones has plenty of expectations for the leadership coming from the experienced players.

“Leadership is key, and it starts with Keith Clanton,” said Jones. “Anytime your best player is also your leader that’s a good thing. Through adversity, Keith has brought himself to another level, and a true leader is not only what he does for himself but what he does for others.”

Clanton being only one of the two seniors of the team is entering this season being named Conference USA’s preseason player of the year.

The Orlando native is the first Knight to earn the award since UCF joined the league in 2005.

“My role is very important to just know that I have to be a leader every time I step out on the court,” said Clanton.

“I think contribution of all different people on the team is key, were going to be versatile as a team and I feel like we can get 20 points from Calvin, Isaiah, Tristan and myself,” Clanton added.

With having three of the four leading scorers return to the team is something the Knights are looking forward to in order to involve more players.

Despite the leave from guard Marcus Jordan, the team is looking past the previous system they were running and are now involving more contribution all-around.

“There’s a lot of pieces, and we have the right guys. You’ll see our team now through our system have more of a scoring role rather than one individual,” said Jones.

UCF is playing a variety of teams this season from top SEC and ACC teams to yearly tournament teams.

“We’re playing the toughest schedule that we’ve ever played,” said Jones. “We’re playing Florida, Miami, and South Florida for the out of conference teams and tough conference teams like Memphis, Southern Miss, and UTEP. So there’s a lot of excitement this year.”

With the blend of four new freshman, a transfer and their leading senior Keith Clanton, the UCF Knights are looking forward to a competitive season.

“I feel like we’re really looking forward to it, especially the Florida schools,” said Clanton. “They are suppose to be bigger, better schools, and I think we’re just as good or better than them with this versatile group that we have.”