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Luke Apfeld has given his verbal to the University of Vermont to play basketball as a member of the 2009 recruiting class. He joins big man Ben Crenca as part of another stellar Mike Lonergan recruiting class.

Eye of the Catamount: Kyle Cieplicki PDF Print E-mail
Written by Preston Junger   
Monday, 28 April 2008

 For the past four years, the University of Vermont Men's Basketball team has gone through many changes.  New coach.  Win over Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament.  Games won and lost. 

The one constant has been three-year captain Kyle Cieplicki and his reliability as a player.  Kyle became known as "The Glue Guy" at Vermont, for his hard-nosed defense and strong understanding of the game of basketball.

Cieplicki is a native Vermonter and grew up around the UVM program, so it comes as no surprise that he has a strong local following.  KC fans have followed him throughout his illustrious career, from Rice High School through his final days as a Catamount this past season.  Vermont Sports Network was able to catch up with Kyle to reflect on his career before he officially steps down and retires like Rocky...

VTSN:  You have been known by many as the ‘glue guy’ because you do all the little things and have such a strong understanding of fundamental basketball.  Where did you learn this approach to the game?
KC: I think I learned a lot about the game from being around the gym at an early age and being exposed to the game and the type of teaching and instruction that was going on be it at my dad's practices or my uncle Keith’s camps, anywhere the game was being taught...I also watched a ton of basketball on TV as a kid and tried to soak up as much knowledge as possible...So I tried to implement the things I learned on the court because I needed every advantage that I could get given my physical makeup.

VTSN:  Who has been your biggest inspiration in basketball and in life?
KC:  I would have to say my parents have been my biggest inspiration...they pushed me with basketball as I grew and taught me the value of hard work...along with this they provided a lot of
opportunities for me to flourish as a player and a person and supported me throughout my career at every level.

VTSN: Current book you are reading?
KC: I just started reading Under the Banner of Heaven by John
Krakauer...It's a non-fiction book about Mormon fundamentalists...I've read some of his other work and this one is very interesting...I was able to read it in the sun the other day and I was also able to work on my tan because I get pretty pale being in the gym all winter so I was able to kill two birds with one stone...

VTSN: Most inspirational sports flick?
KC: This has to be Rocky 3...my favorite movie of the series...I like
how Rocky is down and out and has lost his edge and then Apollo helps him get the eye of the tiger back...I'm sure if any of the guys are struggling during the season next year I will have them over for a movie night and we will watch it.

VTSN: How did you decide to come to Vermont?  We all know you grew up very close to the program, and you were even a ball boy, but how did you make the final decision?
KC: I had a good summer on the camp/AAU circuit going into my junior year and started to get some looks...Being in my backyard UVM started talking to me a lot so I knew I had a spot there if I wanted it...I knew that things were looking up for the program and I wanted to get my decision out of the way so I decided to commit right after my junior year...I called TB a couple days after UVM team camp and told him I wanted to be a part of the team.

VTSN: Who else recruited you out of Rice?
KC: Again I committed pretty early in the process but schools that called me or showed interest were Yale, Princeton, William and Mary, Davidson, BU, St. Mikes, and some other D2's...

VTSN: Most memorable basketball experience AND best single-game performance?
KC: I always have two games that I talk about being my favorites.  The Syracuse game for obvious reasons, and then the following year our semifinal win in the AE tourney vs. Binghamton...We were down big early and were supposed to have no shot to win but we rallied and pulled it out in hostile territory...My best personal performance
would have to be scoring 26 on senior night my junior year versus
Hartford...I guess even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes...

VTSN: Could you talk a bit about your experience in playing in the NCAA tournament and upsetting Syracuse? 
KC: This was a great experience...we were really loose for that game as it was a win/win situation for us...It was awesome to get on the floor that night...The crowd was great and we just felt if we could keep it close for a while they might start getting tight being the higher seed, and it in the tourney anything can happen and fortunately it did...

VTSN:  Do you keep in touch with a lot of UVM hoops alums?
KC: I keep in touch with a lot of guys...I went to Alex Jensen's wedding last summer...played some golf with Germaine this past Sunday, Dave Hehn is back in town so its great to see him again, and I talk with TJ a lot online...its nice to be able to keep tabs on everybody.

VTSN: Can you give us a little reflection on your career at UVM? What was your most memorable moment?
KC: My career was great...I've really been lucky to be around for such a great time in the history of UVM basketball...to think I've been apart of so many big games and been surrounded by so many great coaches and teammates makes me realize that it has truly been a blessing to have been put in the situation that I was...I just wish I could have done more to get us a few more trophies.

VTSN:  Who is the best basketball player you have ever played with and against?
KC:  That’s a tough one...I've played with a lot of great players.  Sorrentine, Coppenrath, Trimboli, Blakely, the list goes on.  It would be hard for me to say who was the best...I've also had to guard a lot of great players.  It's when you have to guard guys from big-time programs like the ones we have played when you really realize just how good some of these guys are.

VTSN: What are your plans for life after college?
KC: If I had a quarter for every time I was asked this question I
might be able to pay rent...I guess that why I need to start looking
for work [LAUGHS].  No I'm really not sure right now what I'm going to do.  I'm just enjoying these last few weeks of school and starting to play some golf and finding out what it's like to be a normal college student and I can't say that it hasn't been a good time!

VTSN:  Would you like to become a coach someday?  Down the road, would you ever considering coaching at UVM?
KC: I am interested in coaching.  Basketball has always been a big part of my life and I would be lying if I said I won't miss it...It's
definitely something I will be looking in to...As for coaching at UVM
it would be great but who knows if that will be able to happen,
however it certainly be something I would like to do...Right now I'm actually starting to work out kids individually and its something I really enjoy...So if anyone has kids that might be interested shoot me an This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it !

VTSN:  Where would you like to see the Basketball program in the next 5-10 years? 
KC: I think right now, with our current group of guys and the class
that we have coming in, the pieces are in place for this team to be
very good.  I am very confident that Coach will keep it going here and continue to bring in good talent.  The great thing about our program now is that the bar has been raised higher than ever before, and that demands excellence and production.  I'm sure the players and staff will be able to meet the challenges that accompany those expectations.  It will be fun to watch.

VTSN: Most importantly, tell us about the funniest basketball experience or joke you have ever been a part of in your career.
KC: There have been a ton of laughs over the years, mostly just funny stuff in conversation on the bus and in the locker room but there are a couple funny stories...Probably the best prank that went down involved me as a freshman...other guys on the team kept calling my dorm room and talking to my roommate telling him they were the police and I was doing criminal things...I barely knew my roommate at the time and he kept taking these calls and leaving the room until one time he pulled me aside and told me I needed to stop what I was doing because the FBI was going to raid the room...so I was pretty sketched out and had no idea what was going on until they admitted it was them...I still get made fun of over that one...

VTSN: It has been a pleasure watching you play and your career transpire.  The Cats will have a hard time filling your shoes, but your legacy will live on.  With that, the floor is yours to offer some parting words for your fans, friends and family..
KC:  I would just like to thank everyone for the support over the years.  The fans have been great as well as the community as a whole.  It has been a good run here at UVM and I wish the team the best of luck in the future.  I will be checking catamountcountry.com next year to keep track of the program!


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 April 2008 )
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