Posted on: November 25, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 11:12 pm
By Jeff Goodman
“Whoever you bring, I like sexy names. So what names? Central Florida would be kind of good but it’s not a sexy name right now." - Jim Calhoun
That was a quote from UConn's head coach a few months back -- when Central Florida was mentioned as a possibility to land in the Big East.
Well, the Knights, who could still be headed to the Big East in the future, looked far sexier on Friday afternoon after storming back from a 17-point second half deficit to pull off arguably the upset of the young season, a 68-63 victory over No. 4 UConn.
Donnie Jones' game plan worked to perfection down the stretch, mixing between man-to-man defense after misses and zone defense following made baskets. He said that key to the game was trying to slow down UConn point guard Shabazz Napier - and that's exactly what he did after the first few minutes of the contest.
"He makes them go," Jones said of Napier. "He's the head of the team and we had to control him. He makes everyone else go."
Central Florida got out of the gates quickly a year ago before struggling in league play, but Jones said that this team is different.
"We've got experience," Jones said. "Our two best players (Keith Clanton and Marcus Jordan) are juniors and our guys now the system now. Last year they were still getting used to it."
Without starting point guard A.J. Rompza, who is serving a suspension as the school is in the midst of an NCAA investigation, Marcus Jordan was forced to play point guard for much of the time. However, he spent most of the stretch off the ball - and was clutch in the final minutes of the game.
Both Jordan and Clanton finished with 20 points in the upset.
"The bigger the stage, the harder he plays," Jones said of Jordan. "He's so competitive."
The win puts UCF at 4-1 with a matchup against Harvard Saturday in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game. It was also just the third time that the program has knocked off a ranked opponent. A year ago, Central Florida beat Florida. The Knights also beat College of Charleston in 2002.
Jones' team came back from a late seven-point deficit the day before in a victory over College of Charleston.
"I love the fact that we didn't live in the last victory against Charleston," Jones said. "And that we came back again."
They delivered UConn its first loss since the start of the Big East tournament last March and in the process, may have changed Calhoun's perception of the basketball program a bit.
Photo: UCF athletics
Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:15 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 5:06 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Central Florida athletic director Keith Tribble resigned and men's basketball coach Donnie Jones has been suspended for three games as part of the school's pro-active approach to the NCAA investigation into the athletics program.
The school received the NCAA's notice of allegations on Tuesday and a news conference was held on Wednesday afternoon.
"The strengthening of UCF's commitment to compliance with the NCAA starts today," UCF president John C. Hitt said in a statement.
Assistant football coach David Kelly has also parted with the program.
Both Tribble and Kelly were both cited for unethical conduct when meeting with NCAA investigators.
"I thank former AD Tribble and former assistant Kelly for their many positive contributions to UCF and wish them well in the future," Hitt said.
The investigation, which also includes the football program, was spurred months ago following reports by ESPN.com and the New York Times that UCF had involvement with Ken Caldwell - a third-party individual who the NCAA has classified as a runner and also a booster.
There were no allegations that Jones or his staff offered money.
The NCAA's report discloses that Caldwell had a relationship with the previous staff - including former coach Kirk Speraw - as well as Tribble.
Caldwell was already connected with current Central Florida guard A.J. Rompza - who was recruited by Speraw - and was also the legal guardian of Doukon Kuzuean - a former walk-on at the school who was brought on by Speraw.
Caldwell's son also attended Central Florida.
The allegations by the NCAA are that Caldwell was involved in the recruitment of players that Jones was recruiting - including Michael Chandler and Kevin Ware.
It also alleges that Jones didn't promote an atmosphere of compliance.
"As the program's head coach, I accept responsibility for mistakes when they occur," Jones said. "I respect Dr. Hitt and the University of Central Florida and believe the decision in this case is fair. I look forward to representing UCF in a positive manner on and off the court."
Central Florida will have 90 days to respond to the allegations.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:44 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 11:41 am
In our Trippin' series we're talking to teams as they return from preseason trips to foreign locales. Click here for all Trippin' related stories