March 7, 2007
Quotes from Coach of the Year Kirk Speraw
Rice senior guard Morris Almond has been named the Conference USA Player of the Year for the 2006-07 season, while UCF head coach Kirk Speraw has been named the league's Coach of the Year, it was announced today in Memphis, site of the 2007 Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship presented by Aëropostale.
Almond lived up to his billing as the preseason Conference USA Player of the Year, and currently ranks third in the nation in scoring at 26.6 points per game. The first team All-Conference USA selection also leads the Owls in rebounding and is fourth in the league at 6.4 rpg. He leads C-USA in three-point field goal percentage (.450), is second in free throw percentage (.860) and tops all C-USA guards in field goal percentage (.480). Almond averaged 24.1 points a game in C-USA games to lead all scorers.
The senior out of Powder Springs, Ga., has moved into fourth place in career scoring at Rice with 1,753 points and set a new single-season record for free throws made with 227. Almond has scored 30 or more points in a game seven times this season, including a Conference USA record 44 points against Vanderbilt.
Almond was named to the 2007 NABC District 9 First Team. He is a finalist for the Naismith Award and the Senior CLASS Award and was named a Wooden Award mid-season All-American.
Speraw wins the award after leading the Golden Knights to a second place finish in the regular season with an 11-5 record in Conference USA play. At 22-8 overall, UCF has posted 21 or more wins for the fourth time in five years under Speraw's guidance. The 22 wins represent an eight-game improvement over last season's 14-15 finish.
In his 14th season at the helm of the Golden Knights, Speraw ranks among the top 20 in terms of longest-tenured head coaches in Division I. He has posted a career record of 313-207 in 17 seasons, including a 231-186 mark at UCF. The Golden Knights will face either Rice or UTEP in their first game at the C-USA Championship on Thursday at 1 p.m. EST. That game will be televised on CSTV.
2006-07 CONFERENCE USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Morris Almond, G, 6-6, 215, Sr., Powder Springs, Ga. (McEachern)
2006-07 CONFERENCE USA COACH OF THE YEAR
Kirk Speraw, UCF (313-207 in 17 seasons)