#134 UCF Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

UCF Knights

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #134
Conference Rank: #8 American

UCF Team Page#134 UCF Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy UCF Basketball Tickets

UCF will want to put the 2013-2014 campaign behind them as quickly as possible. The team won just four American Athletic Conference games and weathered a nine game losing streak in January and February. The good news is the Knights showed some promise down the stretch, winning four of their last nine games. But with their top three scorers gone, the expectations are quite low.

2013-14 Record: 13-18, 4-14
2013-14 Postseason: none
Coach: Donnie Jones
Coach Record: 55-52 at UCF, 110-93 overall

Who’s Out:
Isaiah Sykes, Tristan Spurlock and Calvin Newell were the heart and soul of UCF. Sykes, a 6-5 guard, was easily the best scorer and rebounder on the team, averaging 17.2 points and 7.2 boards. Spurlock was one of the better inside-outside scorers in the AAC. The 6-8 forward knocked down 46 three-pointers on the season, but was just as productive in the paint. Newell ran the show for the Knights. While he never really found his shot, Newell did average 10.1 points per game. Eugene McCrory is the other significant departure. The junior college transfer averaged 5.0 points per game during his only season in Orlando.

Who’s In:
Coach Donnie Jones hopes his trio of freshmen can at least give his team more options on the perimeter. B.J. Taylor is the likely point guard of the future, but there is room for him to make an impact right now. The local product averaged 34.5 points per game as a prep senior and is more than capable of providing a much needed offensive spark for UCF. Adonys Henriquez and Marshall Holmes will look for minutes this year as well. Henriquez is a big, talented 6-6 wing who can do a little bit of everything. On a team that committed way too many turnovers last season, having a wing that can take care of the ball is very important.

Who to Watch:
Despite losing three starters, Coach Jones does return seven players who started at least one game in 2013-2014. The question is whether or not enough of the former roleplayers are ready to step into starring roles. Senior Kasey Wilson is a good bet to do just that. The 6-7 forward is the top returning scorer and rebounder on the team. His ability to stretch the defense with his outside shooting will help open up space for the rest of the offense. Staphon Blair, Justin McBride and Dylan Karell are the more traditional big men on the roster. Blair emerged as a great shot blocker during his sophomore season. If the offense comes around, Blair will be a staple in the starting five. McBride has dropped about 30 pounds since arriving at UCF, yet he is still tipping the scales at 310 pounds. Conditioning is the main reason his minutes are limited and the story may be the same this time around. Brandon Goodwin, Daiquan Walker and Matt Williams were all regular pieces of the backcourt rotation. Goodwin, a sophomore point guard, did not look to score much as a freshman, but he certainly is capable. More importantly, he did pretty well taking care of the ball for a freshman. Walker failed to take a big step forward as a sophomore, averaging 4.0 points and 1.6 assists, yet that could change now that there are more minutes to go around. Williams was the most prolific and consistent shooter on the team and should continue that role in 2013-2014.

Final Projection:
There is talent on this team, even though it is relatively unproven. All these guys played second fiddle to Sykes, Spurlock or Newell and are now ready to see what they can do without those proven playmakers. It may take some time for everything to come together, but by the time AAC play comes around, UCF will not be an easy team to get past. Even more promising for the Knights is the fact that this is still a very young team. Wilson is the only senior on the roster. A postseason appearance of any sort this year will lead to bigger and better things in 2015-2016.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Brandon Goodwin, Sophomore, Guard, 3.0 points per game
B.J. Taylor, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Matt Williams, Junior, Guard, 6.0 points per game
Kasey Wilson, Senior, Forward, 9.6 points per game
Staphon Blair, Junior, Forward, 4.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.7 (114th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.6 (265, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (190, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.9 (278, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (107, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (199, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 61.4 (343, 10)
Rebound Margin: 3.2 (73, 3)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (179, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (292, 10)


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