Keith Clanton, Cameron Moore

Forward Keith Clanton to return to UCF while guard C.J. Reed will not

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With the start of the fall semester approaching some decisions needed to be made by players in the UCF basketball program.

Thanks to NCAA sanctions the school isn’t eligible for postseason play in its final Conference USA season, opening the door for players to transfer without penalty.

The most sought-after player of that bunch, senior power forward Keith Clanton, has decided to remain in Orlando for his final campaign in what is good news for Donnie Jones’ program.

The 6-8 Clanton was a first team All-Conference USA selection last year, averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in 33 contests for the 22-11 Knights (10-6 C-USA).

Clanton’s size and talent resulted in Florida State and Kentucky showing interest, but in the end he decided that finishing his career at UCF was best for him.

“I think to people’s surprise I will be returning to UCF for my Sr. season,” Clanton posted on his Twitter account Saturday night while celebrating his birthday. “I love this team and my dreams and goals can be fulfilled here.”

While Clanton picked his special day to give UCF fans a welcome present, Bethune-Cookman transfer C.J. Reed will leave without playing a game for UCF.

He’s headed to Georgia Southern, where his father was hired as an assistant coach earlier this month.

Curtis Reed was relieved of his duties as head coach at Bethune-Cookman in June 2011, leading to C.J. deciding to transfer to UCF.

The roster news didn’t stop there either, as Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported that senior guard Marcus Jordan isn’t expected to play basketball this season.

Marcus averaged 13.7 points and 2.4 assists per game last season, but the chances of him playing this season were seen by many to be 50/50 at best earlier this summer.

With Jordan not playing, Reed transferring and A.J. Rompza out of eligibility, the status of power forward Josh Crittle becomes even more important with classes due to begin on Monday.

According to Iliana Limon of the Orlando Sentinel, Crittle has visited DePaul but the Chicago native has yet to make a final decision as to whether or not he’ll return to UCF.

UCF is down to two freshman point guards in Tyler Coons (who isn’t expected to play much) and Daiquan Walker, with Oklahoma transfer Calvin Newell eligible at the end of the fall semester.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: