The UCF basketball program has earned tremendous buzz during the past 24 hours after elite Georgia shooting guard Kevin Ware picked the Knights over Louisville and Georgia.
With Ware in the mix, ESPN.com rates UCF’s recruiting class No. 16 in the country. the Knights are the highest ranked school in the state of Florida and the highest ranked team in Conference USA.UCF coach Donnie Jones and his staff have amassed easily the highest rated recruiting class in school history. three of the players had previously committed to other schools before picking UCF. Ware told the Orlando Sentinel Monday night he has signed his letter of intent. UCF is expected process the paperwork and will most likely officially announce the signing Wednesday morning.
Here’s a closer look at the five players who are slated to join the Knights’ lineup this summer (Warning: the highlight clips are set to music.):
Michael ChandlerPosition: CenterSize: 6-10, 225Rivals.com rating: Four-star prospect, No. 47 overall player in the nation, No. 4 center in the nationESPN.com analysis: “this true center can put his stamp on any high school game when motivated because of his size and talent. he is strong and physical and can be a double figure scorer and rebounder on a regular basis. if gets into shape and maintains and continues to develop the sky is the limit.”Buzz: Chandler is the type of big man who can fit well into Jones’ offense because he has the potential to run the floor well. he will need to add more muscle to his frame, but his natural athleticism and ability to finish around the basket should make him an immediate starter for the Knights. the biggest question about Chandler was whether he would qualify academically. he withdrew from Lawrence North after basketball season and has transferred to another accredited high school. Chandler has two more opportunities to take college entrance exams. he says he is working hard and on track to qualify for UCF.Highlight clip:
Kevin WarePosition: Shooting guard, point guardSize: 6-4, 180Rivals.com rating: Four-star prospect, No. 56 overall player in the country, No. 14 shooting guard in the country.ESPN.com analysis: “Kevin is a high-flying athlete. when you put him in a fullcourt press where he can use his wing span and quick twitch athleticism the sky could be the limit. He’ll need to find a situation where he can hide his deficiencies in skill level long enough to let them develop.”Buzz: UCF’s eight-game losing streak during the 2010-11 season highlighted the Knights’ need for a guard who could create his own shot, distribute the ball to his teammates and knock down mid-range jumpers. Ware can help the Knights, but he will need to work on his ball handling and long-range shooting. he is slated to log significant time at point guard at UCF, taking considerable pressure of Marcus Jordan to run the offense. Ware said he is willing to do the work to quickly learn Jones’ system and may spend more time at UCF this summer than the current members of the basketball team so that he can make a smoother transition to the next level.Highlight clip:
Rod DaysPosition: Small forwardSize: 6-6, 195Rivals.com rating: Three-star prospectESPN.com analysis: “Days is a long lean and very athletic wing. It is in transition where Days thrives, he sprints the floor extremely well and uses his superior athleticism to finish. he will be a player that schools watch in the coming season and he has a chance to big looks with his tremendous upside. he does an excellent job of coming over from the weak side to help block or change shots.”Buzz: Days is the type of versatile player who can thrive in Jones’ system. he runs the floor well, can play strong team defense and is capable of scoring.Highlight clip:
Wayne MartinPosition: Power forwardSize: 6-7, 205Rivals.com rating: Three-star prospectESPN.com analysis: “Martin is a long and lean power forward that has good skill level and is very athletic. he scores in transition by running the floor with long strides great urgency. In the post Martin likes back his defender in off the dribble and shoot over him or face and drive with a good first step where he is comfortable to about 15-17 feet. he dunks drop off passes with his quick and explosive vertical jumping ability as well. he is a good interior passer especially from the high post in their hi-low offense where Martin is also a driving threat. Defensively Martin puts forth good effort as he works to contest shots and is a good weak side shot blocker. he rebounds on both ends but is more of a factor on the offensive glass because he is quick to the ball.”Buzz: Martin seemed the most likely forward to earn early playing time, but he suffered a major foot injury as Providence School was preparing for the state playoffs. his Achilles tendon should recover by the start of the 2011-12 basketball season, but he will miss key offseason conditioning with his new teammates. Martin’s success will be dictated by how quickly he recovers from surgery and how well he can learn Jones’ system from the sidelines.
Kasey WilsonPosition: Power forwardSize: 6-6, 205Rivals.com rating: Three-star prospect.ESPN.com analysis: “Kasey plays one way: All out! Wilson has developed his perimeter shooting to the point he can hit mid range jumpers and open threes off the catch with range to the arc with needed time and space. he is a match up problem at the power forward position and at this rate of improvement Wilson will continue to raise the level of his game. one to watch this winter.”Buzz: Wilson is another long, lean and athletic player who should fit in well in Jones’ system. he can run the floor, finish inside and score on the perimeter. he will need to add muscle to his frame and adapt to facing tougher defenses in college.Highlight clip: