Drew Speraw has owned a spot on the UCF bench since he was 6 years old.
Speraw was in the first grade when his father, Kirk Speraw, was hired to be the Knights' basketball coach. Drew Speraw always was welcome by his dad's side, tagging along to grueling practices and analyzing countless hours of game highlights. He befriended players who passed through the program and eventually joined their ranks as a walk-on guard five years ago.
His long tenure at UCF appears finally to be coming to an end. Speraw will play his final home game when the Knights (13-15, 5-9 in Conference USA) take on East Carolina (9-19, 3-11 in C-USA) at 7 tonight in UCF Arena.
"It will be a special night for me," Speraw said. "We've had some struggles and we've had some triumphs throughout my five years here. It will be a little emotional, but I'm excited about helping this team keep moving forward before I leave UCF."
Speraw made a few big shots during his UCF career and former teammate Jermaine Taylor always referred to him as the Knights' best shooter, but most of Speraw's time was spent learning the game of basketball and passing tips on to his teammates.
He blossomed into a bonus member of the coaching staff, earnestly calling out plays and offering pointers to his young teammates still learning how to read scouting reports.
"He's been through an awful lot and been a huge part of our program the last five years," Kirk Speraw said of his son. "I think he's done a tremendous job of helping these guys make the transition from high school to college basketball. He's a coach out there."
Like his father, for as long as Drew Speraw can remember, he has had his heart set on becoming a basketball coach. He coached some club basketball teams while he was still in high school and remains passionate about the profession despite watching his father endure a tough season filled with close losses.
Drew Speraw's eyes glistened as his father walked up behind reporters to listen to his son answer questions about his future.
Will he join Kirk Speraw's staff while going for his second master's degree from UCF? Will he leave Orlando with a doctorate in Speraw's style of basketball and start his coaching career elsewhere?
"I don't know how exactly everything is going to fall, but I'm definitely open to any options," Drew Speraw said. "... It's a little tough right now, but I'm excited about the future."
Read Iliana Limón's blog at www.OrlandoSentinel.com/knightsnotepad and e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times