2015 guard Corey Sanders verbally commits to attend UCF (VIDEO)

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The 2015-16 season is well off in the distance, meaning that things can change, but the last two days have been very good for the UCF basketball program on the recruiting trail.

One day after landing a verbal commitment from 6-8 power forward Alex Owens, UCF received one from 6-2 guard Corey Sanders Wednesday afternoon. Sanders, who attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., made his decision official via his Twitter account.

Sanders attended McKeel Academy in Lakeland, Fla. last season, with his decision to transfer to IMG influenced in part by the decision of McKeel teammate and fellow 2015 prospect Dwayne Bacon to make the same move. McKeel reached the regional semifinals of the Class 3A Florida state tournament last season.

Sanders’ decision to commit to UCF is an important one for head coach Donnie Jones, who will lost Calvin Newell at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season with Daiquan Walker and Matt Williams on track to be seniors when 2015 rolls around. But with there only being so much depth chart studying that can be done in regards to a verbal commit who won’t be on campus for another two seasons, the aspect that will have UCF fans excited about the news is that they’ve added Top 100 players on consecutive days.

Has the move to the American Athletic Conference boosted UCF’s profile when it comes to recruiting some of the most talented players in the state of Florida? While the majority of the programs in the conference were in Conference USA with UCF, it doesn’t hurt to be able to sell the fact that the Knights share a conference with storied programs such as UConn and Cincinnati (as well as Memphis).

Adding Sanders to the fold certainly helps UCF as it looks to develop into a contender in the American. Below are a few highlights of the athletic Sanders in action.

The biggest problem with Ken Caldwell’s UCF ‘proof’ video? He missed the point.

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Ken Caldwell, the man at the center of the events that led the NCAA to levy harsh penalties against the UCF program, released a video Wednesday in response to those sanctions in an attempt to explain it all in his own words.

Like any other thesis-driven proof, Caldwell’s YouTube video, “The Truth Part 1,” laid out his mission statement within the first minute:

“To show how the NCAA unfairly, unjustly accused myself and others of being a part of a fold, in cahoots, whatever you want to call it.”

Oddly enough, though, he then goes on, almost immediately, to acknowledge that he has ties to a sports agency and the UCF program, often telling recruits how great a place UCF is and that he gave money to former UCF guard AJ Rompza.

Caldwell even goes as far as to say that he is a “second dad” to Rompza.

But this is the core of the fallacy in Caldwell’s overall argument: When he hyped his video pre-release on Twitter saying he had “proof,” it led at least me, and probably others, to believe there might be something substantial there to hold against the NCAA, but nine minutes proved that there was not.

Those nine minutes were used to make a play toward the emotions of the viewer about the way the NCAA functions, which really has no impact on the series of steps it used to rule on the UCF case.

Caldwell does not make the distinction between the argument that he was being wrongly accused by the NCAA and the argument that the bylaws of the NCAA, themselves, are unjust.

This post isn’t validating and defending the way the NCAA functions, for I have a long list of criticisms for that institution, but Caldwell’s video, framed as an attempt to vindicate himself, was really only another criticism (granted, a poorly executed one) of the internal workings of the NCAA.

Serious questions need to be asked about the business model of the NCAA, the way money flows work, and the right of players to personally capitalize on their abilities, but this plea by Caldwell does not do that.

“If your second father cannot give you money, then who can?” he asks rhetorically. “It’s a violation for someone to give..someone that you love or someone that you care about money? That’s a violation to say that you can’t, in my world.”

The NCAA doesn’t play by the rules of your world, Mr. Caldwell, and now the UCF program is finding that out.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Central Florida reportedly sentenced to one-year postseason ban in football and basketball

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Both the football and basketball programs at the University of Central Florida have been sentenced to one-year postseason bans by the NCAA, Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com is reporting.

The ban comes in addition to the self-imposed penalties that Central Florida placed upon itself, among them a three-game suspension for head coach Donnie Jones, a reduction in scholarships and recruiting days, and vacated wins from 2008-2011.

The ruling came as a result of an existing relationship between Kenneth Caldwell, who the deemed to have ties to a sports agency, and coaches in both football and basketball.

Goodman laid out the major factors for the NCAA’s ruling:

“1) Involvement with an individual associated with a prospect

2) A significant competitive advantage resulted

3) The violations reflect a lack of institutional control

4) The institution is a repeat violator”

As the NCAA explained it, Caldwell allegedly tried to steer players to UCF, though former guard AJ Rompza is reportedly the only player to go on to play for the Knights.

What remains for Jones is a three-year show cause order, meaning that if he were to move to another institution, the penalties he has yet to serve would follow him. He also will not be allowed to go out on the recruiting trail for next July’s live period.

Central Florida is playing in its final season in Conference USA, set to move to the Big East in 2013-14. The Knights finished 22-11, including 10-6 in conference play. They lost in the first round of the NIT to Drexel.

To read Goodman’s full report, click here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Philadelphia guard Daiquan Walker commits to UCF

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Daiquan Walker, a 6-2 guard from Constitution (Pa.), has committed to Central Florida, multiple outlets are reporting.

Walker was a teammate of Savon Goodman at Constitution, with Goodman committing to UNLV on the same day as Walker to UCF.

“He’s got the mind of a point guard, but he’s got great size for the position,” Rob Moore, Walker’s high school coach, told the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s long, athletic and very fast. He can play the one or the two and shoot the ball very well. He’s one of the best ball handlers in the country. I think Central Florida will be extremely happy with him.”

In May, Walker told NBCSports.com that there was a “60/40 chance” that he would reclassify to 2013, but, according to the Sentinel, he will enroll in UCF’s second summer session and begin his college workouts.

“There’s a lot of schools that tried to come in late, but Central Florida had been recruiting him longer than anyone else,” Moore went on to tell the paper. “He felt comfortable with Coach Thomas. He visited a few weeks ago and knew he wanted to go to Central Florida.”

Walker becomes the fourth member of UCF’s 2012 recruiting class, joining forward Staphon Blair, center Dylan Karell, and guard Matt Williams.

The Knights are coming off a season in which they finished 22-11, including 10-6 in Conference USA.

Uncertainty still remains about whether guard Marcus Jordan will return to the team for his senior season, or in what capacity.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_