Home » Columns »Your Phil of Hoops » Currently Reading:

UCF’s young perimeter needs help next year

March 13, 2015 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments

HARTFORD, Conn. – UCF had a tough ending to a tough season. Now the work begins on getting better, and to that end they have a good base. They showed some reason for hope in the season-ending loss in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

UCF played from behind for much of the game, at one point trailing East Carolina by 17 in the first half. They managed to hang around, though, and that gave them a chance. Their inability to get stops for a stretch took away any real momentum they had for a lot of the second, and kept them from breaking through to eventually tie or take the lead. They didn’t quit, though, and in the final seconds a Kasey Wilson stickback sent the game into overtime.

They had chances to win in overtime as well, including at the end. That they didn’t cash in may just be a sign that they’re not ready to win a game like this just yet.

What this team has going for it starts with their freshman backcourt of B.J. Taylor and Adonis Henriquez. Taylor led the team in scoring, while Henriquez wasn’t far behind, making them one of three teams in the country with freshmen as their top two scorers. They seem to play off each other well, and they were thrust right into key roles right away on this team. Though both shot well on Thursday (Taylor was 8-17 to get his 22 points, while Henriquez was 6-9 including 4-6 from deep), neither shot well all year. That will be one area to improve upon, and as Henriquez does finish the season shooting 39 percent from long range, he’s on his way.

“Both of these guys have come in and we’ve asked a lot from them from an offensive standpoint and a defensive standpoint, and they’ve been two of the most coachable guys that I’ve ever coached,” said head coach Donnie Jones.

With the freshman duo and improving sophomore Brandon Goodwin, the perimeter unit is in pretty good shape. On Thursday, they combined for 49 points on 18-40 shooting (8-16 from deep), 15 assists and four turnovers. They also were the part of the starting lineup Jones could count on, as he used ten different starting lineups but had those three in every one of them save for the four games Taylor missed due to injury.

The frontcourt is going to be the X-factor, as there doesn’t seem to be a lack of talent, but getting production from them seemed to go a long way towards winning. When Wilson scored in double figures, they went 7-4; when Staphon Blair did so, they went 6-3. The few times both did it, the Knights went 4-1. They won’t rely on this unit to lead the way, but they can’t be idle, either.

Wilson is done, but there are bodies that can produce, and there will be additions. Justin McBride has a huge body, and has lost weight over time, so while he’s limited in terms of endurance he can help them. He still managed 31 minutes on Thursday and had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. He impresses you with his great hands, so if he can stay in shape and continue to develop, he can be part of the solution along with Blair and junior Shaheed Davis, who has a little length. They’ll have to contend with newcomers Tacko Fall, who stands 7’6″ and played with one of the best Nike travel teams, and Chad Brown, who can also help them.

The Knights were not a good defensive team this season, allowing opponents to shoot 45.6 percent from the field. Their inability to get stops to come back at times on Thursday was not an isolated occurrence. They were also out-rebounded, which also speaks further to the frontcourt concerns. Jones alluded to one big adjustment the young core of this team has to make revolving around defense.

“I think sometimes we as a young group get focused – and just not these guys as young, talking about the other guys on our team, too – is that we sometimes let our offense dictate our defense, and our defense needs to dictate our offense so just keep getting stops,” Jones said.

UCF will have a lot of this team back next year, and the recruiting class should strengthen them. If they put in the work in the off-season, they could make a nice jump next year. Guards are important in college basketball, and the Knights have promising young ones, so that’s a good start. They are a big part of why there is reason for hope next year.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2017

March 20, 2017 by

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is in the books, and after two rounds that could not be more different. Ted Sarandis leads the way as we break down the first two rounds, as well as coaching news that emerged over the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 18, 2017

March 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we look back on the first round games in the NCAA Tournament, starting with a couple of terrific performances on Friday night.

College Basketball Tonight – March 12, 2017

March 13, 2017 by

We bring you College Basketball Tonight, a comprehensive look at the 2017 NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran broadcaster Ted Sarandis. The NCAA Tournament field is set, and we break down each region as well as some big picture subjects.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 2

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 2 of our podcast, we talk about the ACC Tournament and others that have found new homes in light of comments made by a prominent coach that got quite a reaction, then we talk about the NCAA Tournament bubble as that subject begins to dominate conversation for a couple of more days.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2017, Part 1

March 10, 2017 by

In Part 1 of the podcast as Championship Week rolls on, we look at some important games in New York, as well as surprises in the Big 12. Also, more coaching changes are happening, and we talk about some of the news there.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.