99 in 99: #74 Central Florida Knights

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Michael Jordan sons

Now that the Jordan brothers are done making it rain with daddy’s money in Vegas, we can start talking Central Florida basketball.  A lower third Conference USA team last season, UCF returns pretty much everybody and is ready make a jump under first year head coach Donnie Jones.

Click here if you have missed The Sports Bank’s previous 99 in 99’s in which we rank the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors.

By: David Kay

Central Florida Knight (9th, 6-10 in CUSA, 15-17 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: A.J. Tyler (Sr)/Tom Herzog (Sr)
F: Keith Clanton (So)/Dwight McCombs (Jr)/P.J. Gaynor (Jr)
G/F: Marcus Jordan (So)/David Diakite (So)/Isaiah Sykes (Fr)
G: Taylor Young (Sr)/Isaac Sosa (Jr)
PG: A.J. Rompza (Jr)/Jarvis Davis (Fr)

Gone: C-Jakub Kusmieruk (transfer-Idaho State), G-R.J. Scott (transfer-Troy), SG-Nik Garcia (transfer), SG-Drew Speraw

Donnie Jones Central Florida2010-2011 Outlook:
Very, very rarely does a head coach leave one school to take the same position for a different program in the same conference.  That is exactly what Donnie Jones did this off-season when he left Marshall to become the top man Central Florida.  The move makes sense as Jones spent 11 seasons as an assistant under Billy Donovan at Florida so he definitely has a familiarity with the recruiting scene in the Sunshine State.  Plus, UCF is a much more attractive college basketball destination and not just because the school boasts a 7-to-1 female-to-male ratio.

All eight players who were a regular part of the Knights rotation last season return. Except for A.J. Tyler and Taylor Young, the other six contributors were underclassmen and are still improving.  UCF should have a nice compliment of shooters and athletes this season while also adding some needed size inside.

Just a few months on the job and Jones was proactive in landing impact transfers.  Former Michigan State Spartan Tom Herzog is eligible this season and will provide a low post presence while JUCO transfer and Rompza and Marcus Jordan’s former high school teammate Dwight McCombs adds even more depth inside.  Virginia’s athletic forward Tristan Spurlock, Illinois point guard Jeffrey Jordan, and Oregon big body Josh Crittle also transferred to UCF this off-season but will have to sit out a year and wait until the 2011-2012 season to become eligible.

With Conference USA being down this year compared to last, UCF’s experience should be a major advantage.  Will they be a NCAA Tournament team?  Probably not.  But this program is on the rise and the Knights are my pick for sleeper team in the conference.

Player to Watch: Isaac Sosa, G
Sosa started 14 games for UCF but primarily served as the team’s sixth man.  He led a very balanced offensive attack for the Knights, averaging 10.3 points per game.  Shooting 42.7% from three last season, Sosa is a dangerous outside shooter with 171 of his 270 field goal attempts came from beyond the arc.  He should once again provide a scoring punch off the bench if he does not work his way into the starting line-up.

Key Non-Conference Games:
12/1 vs. Florida (in Orlando)
12/19 vs. Miami (Fl)

Other 99 in 99’s:
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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