UCF Men's Basketball Summer Preview


GO KNIGHTS David Diakite is one of the many returnees back from last season's squad.
GO KNIGHTS
David Diakite is one of the many returnees back from last season's squad.
GO KNIGHTS

July 9, 2010

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Preseason Information in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

By Doug Richards
UCFAthletics.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The 2010-11 men's basketball campaign at UCF will mark the start of a new era for the Knights. With the arrival of head coach Donnie Jones, the Knights will certainly feature a new look during the upcoming season.

Jones moved to UCF in late March, and has promised to bring an up-tempo style of play to Orlando. The Knights return several key returners from last year's squad, and Jones also landed an impressive recruiting class.

With excitement surrounding the program at an all-time high, the UCF ticket sales office is currently accepting season-ticket deposits for the 2010-11 campaign at (407) UCF-1000 or online at UCFAthletics.com. By placing their deposit now, fans will receive a free 2010-11 Knightmare t-shirt with their ticket purchase. Season tickets start at just $96.

UCF Preseason Notebook

A NEW ERA
• The 2010-11 campaign will mark year one of the Donnie Jones era at UCF
• Expect the Knights to have a new look on the floor this season as Jones plans to implement an up-tempo style of play
• UCF averaged just 66.7 points per game in 2009-10, but Jones' Marshall team averaged 79.9 points, good for ninth nationally

POINTS A PLENTY
• UCF returns eight letterwinners from last season as the team's top eight scorers from 2009-10 are all back
• The Knights return 95.2 percent of its scoring from last year

TIME FOR CHANGE
• A year ago, UCF had only three upperclassmen along with 12 underclassmen
• As a result, the Knights were the fourth-youngest squad in the country
• UCF's roster will have a different layout in 2010-11
• Seven upperclassmen will suit up for the Knights this season

HOMETOWN HERO
• A Conference USA All-Freshman Team pick in 2009-10, Keith Clanton is poised for a breakout year
• The forward averaged 9.7 points and a team-best 6.8 boards as a rookie, and also blocked 45 shots
• The 6-foot-8 Orlando native arrived at UCF as the most heralded recruit in program history
• He led Orlando Christian Prep to a pair of Florida Class 1A titles and was listed as the 68th-best player in the nation as a senior by Scout.com

ALL-AROUND GAME
• Joining Keith Clanton on the 2009-10 Conference USA All-Freshman Team was teammate Marcus Jordan
• The shooting guard started the final 18 games of the year and exhibited a great all-around game
• The Chicago native averaged 8.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists
• In C-USA games, he averaged a team-high 10.8 points in 31.1 minutes per outing
• Jordan battled a bevy of injuries last year, including one in the preseason that hampered his conditioning
• He is working hard on his fitness this summer, and appears to be in great shape

MAKING A POINT
• UCF's leader both on and off the floor is point guard A.J. Rompza
• The junior averaged 8.6 points and 4.6 assists a year ago
• Expect Rompza to have a breakout year offensively
• All of his offensive numbers improved in 2009-10, and the speedy 5-foot-9 Rompza should thrive playing in Jones' fast-paced system

MAN OF STEAL
• Last season, A.J. Rompza ranked ninth nationally in steals per game at 2.6
• In Conference USA play, he led the league with 37 swipes in only 15 games
• Rompza, who enters his junior campaign seventh in career assists at UCF with 294, is also 10th all-time at the school in steals (127)

THREE'S COMPANY
• UCF returns one of the top 3-point shooters in the country in Isaac Sosa
• Sosa averaged a team-high 10.3 points as a sophomore and led Conference USA in 3-point field goal percentage
• He connected on 73-of-171 (42.7 percent) of his attempts from deep
• Sosa ranks second in UCF history in career 3-point field goal percentage
• In two campaigns in Orlando, he has made 43.8 percent (130-of-297) of his shots from behind-the-arc

SENIOR MOMENTS
• A pair of fifth-year seniors with plenty of experience will both be looking to conclude their careers in strong fashion this season
A.J. Tyler started all 32 games at power forward a year ago and averaged 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds
• Tyler is a skilled offensive player who should benefit from the arrival of some other post players, allowing him more room to show off his shooting touch
Taylor Young is the team's other returning senior
• Young was inserted into the starting lineup late last year and averaged 7.1 points and 2.8 points per contest
• At the end of the year, Young showed off his scoring ability
• In the team's final five games of the campaign, he averaged 14.0 points

WINGMEN
• Also back for the Knights are a pair of small forwards - P.J. Gaynor and David Diakite
• The pair combined to start 29 games a year ago
• Gaynor, a junior who is skilled on the offensive end, averaged 4.9 points and 3.5 rebounds
• Diakite is an athletic sophomore who should thrive in Jones' up-tempo offense
• He averaged 4.7 points and 3.8 boards last year

WELCOME FRESHMEN
Donnie Jones will have two talented freshmen on UCF's roster this season
• Point guard Jarvis Davis comes to Orlando after spending a postgraduate year at Hargrave Military Academy
• The South Carolina native averaged 13.0 points and 5.0 assists per game in leading Hargrave to a 24-1 mark
• Jones landed one of the top unsigned seniors in the country in May when guard/forward Isaiah Sykes from Detroit Denby High School signed a National Letter of Intent to attend UCF
• Sykes averaged 19.7 points as a senior and had offers from Arkansas and Michigan
• Scout.com listed him as the 39th-best small forward in the nation

POWER PLAY
• UCF added one of the most-sought after junior college players in the country in power forward Dwight McCombs
• As a sophomore at Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois, McCombs averaged 22.5 points and 13.3 rebounds per game in 2009-10
• He chose UCF over Arizona State and Indiana

CENTER OF ATTENTION
• UCF's largest newcomer is Tom Herzog, a 7-foot transfer from Michigan State
• Herzog spent four years with the Spartans, where he played in 44 career games
• The senior, who redshirted in 2006-07, will attend UCF to pursue a master's degree and will be eligible immediately
• As a junior in 2009-10, Herzog appeared in 15 contests, averaging 1.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 3.7 minutes per game
• Herzog was a member of two Final Four squads at Michigan State
• As a senior at Flint Powers High School in Michigan, Herzog was rated as the seventh-best center in the nation by Rivals.com

A BIG ADDITION
Josh Crittle, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound power forward, has joined the Knights after two years at Oregon
• Crittle will miss this season due to NCAA transfer rules and will have two years of eligibility at UCF starting in 2011-12
• He appeared in 51 career games with the Ducks, averaging 2.9 points and 2.5 rebounds

FAMILY MATTERS
• Another transfer, Jeff Jordan, joined his brother Marcus at UCF in June
• Like Josh Crittle, he will miss the season due to NCAA transfer rules
• A strong defender, Jordan played in 92 games in three seasons at Illinois
• He made two starts as a junior in 2009-10

CHI-STATE OF MIND
• Chicago has a heavy influence on the UCF roster
• Five Knights - Josh Crittle, Jeff and Marcus Jordan, Dwight McCombs and A.J. Rompza - are all from Chicago
Marcus Jordan, Rompza and McCombs all graduated from Whitney Young High School
• Rompza was teammates with both Marcus Jordan and McCombs

SUNSHINE SLATE
• UCF's non-conference schedule includes a pair of high-profile games in the Sunshine State
• On Dec. 1, Donnie Jones will square off against mentor Billy Donovan when UCF plays Florida in the first collegiate game inside the new Amway Center in downtown Orlando in the FCS Shootout
• The Knights have never faced Florida in Orlando
• On Dec. 18, the Knights will meet Miami in Sunrise as part of the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic
• The contest against the Hurricanes will mark UCF's first game in south Florida since 2005

 

 

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