The UCF men's basketball team lost three of its top scorers from last season. The team doesn't seem to be worried though. The Knights look to pick up where they left off with a slew of returning faces to go along with a troop of new teammates.
Head coach Donnie Jones has high hopes for the new guys on the team and knows that they are more than ready to compete for UCF.
"The guys that are coming in are obviously next level players. It's one of the most talented groups we've probably signed here," Jones said. "The freshmen are going to come in. They're going to play. They're not going to sit and wait."
Adding newcomers to a roster inevitably calls for some kind of leadership in the locker room. While the young guns try to adjust to the collegiate basketball life, the veterans are stepping up to guide these players down the right path.
Senior forward Kasey Wilson will step into a leadership role this season. He said that he remembered the lessons taught by players before him and wants to send those same positive messages to help the next generation of Knights.
"Just being able to realize the guys that I was able to play with has really helped me mature as a person," Wilson said. "Having these young guys who can play like they're older than they are is going to be big for us."
Junior guard Matt Williams is looking to emerge as a leader as well. Williams said he wants to lead by example.
"Stepping up, being an older guy is kind of different because we used to follow the lead of [the] other guys. But, now we're the other guys," Williams said. "I'm more of a get-it-done type of guy."
Junior forward Staphon Blair is going into his third full season with the Knights. He led the team in blocks last year with 47. Blair said he knows the importance of being a leader and how important it's going to be for them this season.
"We have to step up with a big role being a leader this year," Blair said. "[Teach them to] never give up, and always go hard. Don't take plays off."
The Knights' first home exhibition game is on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The regular season begins at home on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.