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UVM Basketball 2007-2008
Kyle Cieplicki - Vermont's Glue Guy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Preston Junger   
Saturday, 18 August 2007

 The Cieplicki name is synonymous with basketball tradition in the state of Vermont.  Kyle Cieplicki is the latest of the basketball Cieplicki's to make his mark on the Vermont basketball scene.  The 'Glue Guy,' as he has been referred to by UVM diehard fans, is headed into his Senior year at The University of Vermont and VTSportsNet was able to catch up with him to get his thoughts on the upcoming season, the Syracuse upset and his literary interests.

VTSN: Recall the Syracuse game. What was the mood of the team the week before the game? At what point during the game, did you think that you could actually pull this off? Describe your emotions after the final buzzer. Who was in the locker room after the game? Describe the general feelings.

KC: The Syracuse game was great.  The team was focused in that week, we had been in the tourney the past two years and we really thought it was a winnable game.  We weren’t just happy to be there.  Late in the first half when we made a little run, I think we realized that it was going to be close.  The locker room was nuts, there was a big fridge with a ton of water bottles and we took them out and just started throwing water everywhere.  Everybody was so excited, and I think shocked a little bit that we had actually pulled off the upset.  it was pandemonium in there!

VTSN: Talk about growing up around the Catamount program. How did you become the ball boy for the Cats? Describe that experience. Which players were exceptionally nice to you. During those years, the Cats weren't having 20-win seasons. What was Coach Brennan's demeanor. What was your relationship back then?

KC:  I was always around the program because my family knew the staff since they recruited my uncles. When Bernie started playing there my dad hooked me up with the ball boy job.  I always loved shooting in front of the crowd when the team would be in the locker room so I guess I always envisioned myself playing there one day.  Coach Brennan was just as energetic then as he was when I played, he wanted to win so bad.  It was cool to be around that when we got really good in his final years, because as a kid I watched when they had good teams but couldn’t get over the top.

VTSN:  Who do you still keep in touch with from the 2005 team that upset Syracuse?

KC: I keep in touch with a lot of the guys from that team.  Alex just got married this summer, so it was a mini-reunion, which was great.  Germain is still around and TJ was here most of the summer as well as Taylor.  It’s always nice seeing those guys.

VTSN: We've heard you conduct interviews. Any plans on a career in journalism?

KC: [Laughs] Yeah, Chris Holm wanted us to interview each other before the Albany game for our pre- game radio show so I agreed.  I guess it was bad luck so it wont be happening this year [Laughs].  I wanted to major in journalism coming out of high school but the school doesn’t offer it.  I’ve always been interested in media work though.

VTSN:  What are your top five movies to watch on the team bus?

KC: Well Chris Holm was usually the guy who picked up the movies so after the first trip I had to adjust and bring a portable DVD player and throw my headphones on.  I think he rented every Damon Wayans or David Alan Grier movie ever made [Laughs].  I love watching TV seasons on DVD though, my favorite would have to be The Wire, I’ve run through 3 seasons of that already, also a couple seasons of 24.

VTSN:  You're an English major, what are your favorite books?

KC: I really like Hemingway and his style of writing.  The Sun Also Rises would have to be my favorite book of his.  I also love to read sports non-fiction.  I read A March to Madness right before the tournament and then got to talk to John Feinstein about it in Worcester in between games. That was awesome.

VTSN:  As you head into your Senior year, what has been your most memorable moment as a Catamount?

KC: Obviously the Syracuse game is one of them but my other favorite game would have to be my sophomore year at Binghamton in the conference semis.  It was a great atmosphere there as always and we got down big early but came back and held on for the win.  We had blown so many games in the last 5 minutes that year, to be able to finally pull a close game out and get to the conference finals as a six seed was awesome.  I think that game really made us into a team and gave us momentum for the following year, we were so young and didn’t know how to win but we figured it out and won a ton of close games the next year.

VTSN:  How has your game evolved since your days at Rice?  What would you say are your biggest strengths as a player?  What are you looking to improve upon headed into this season?

KC: I think I’ve just been able to become better adjusted to the speed and physicality of the college game.  I try to do the little things because I am limited athletically.  I think I have a good feel for the game and that is a big help because it makes up for some limitations I have.  In talking to the coaches, I think need to score and rebound more this year for us to maintain our success.  Last year we had so many guys with experience so I didn’t really need to put up numbers.  Hopefully this year I’ll step up in that regard.

VTSN:  All of you guys are up in Burlington right?  How does the team look?  What is the plan to fill in for the void left by Chris (Holm) and Martin (Klimes)?

KC: Everyone was up for summer school in July and will be back when school starts.  The team looks good--we were in the weight room and on the track working hard so it was a productive summer.  I don't think it will be one or two guys who will fill in for Chris and Martin. It will have to be a collective effort, especially with a lot of young guys involved.  If we all just try to get better every day throughout the year I think we’ll be fine.

VTSN:  How will MoJo fit into the mix in the 2008-09 season?  What are your thoughts on UVM being able to land a Michigan State transfer?

KC: The fans will really like MoJo!  First and foremost he’s a good guy who will fit in well on the team and in the community.  It says a lot for the program that we can get an impact transfer from a program [Michigan State] of that caliber.  as a player he can do a lot of things.  He shoots it well, can get to the rim and has good size for his position.  What I really like about him is he plays very hard and is a pretty fiery guy.  I think he will get a lot done here at UVM.

VTSN:  How do you feel about facing the Florida Gators down in Tampa this season?  How will the team stack up?

KC: Florida will be fun.  They’ll be young but I’m sure they will be extremely talented.  It's always fun playing against big programs because you go out there with nothing to lose and can really play loose.  We will play hard and see what happens.  We won’t be scared!

VTSN:  The floor is yours if you'd like to share anything else or give a shout out.

KC: I’d just like to thank all fans as well as this website for your support for our program.  It makes it really fun as a player when there are so many people interested in the team.  Hopefully it will be packed at Patrick this year! Thanks!

VTSN:  Thanks Kyle!  We wish you a great Senior season.  Go Cats!

Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 August 2007 )
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