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.
After landing their first verbal commitment in the 2014 class last weekend (shooting guard Chandler Hutchison), Boise State landed a second verbal commitment as 6-9 forward/center David Wacker announced his decision on Sunday. The news was first reported by Robin Washut of Rivals.com.
Wacker, a native of Converse, Texas, attends Judson High School where plays for his father Mike, who played at the University of Texas before a knee injury derailed his hopes of playing professionally. The younger Wacker made his official visit to Boise State last weekend, and his reported commitment comes less than a week before his originally scheduled visit to Western Kentucky. WKU head coach Ray Harper and the elder Wacker were college teammates at Texas.
Judson finished the 2012-13 season with a 29-8 record, reaching the third round of the Class 5A Texas state basketball tournament. David Wacker averaged 11.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots per game in his junior campaign. In 2014 Wacker will join a Boise State program that loses just one front court contributor in Ryan Watkins, who averaged 8.4 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game in 2012-13.
Boise State added two front court prospects this offseason in junior college transfer James Webb III (sophomore) and freshman Nick Duncan. The Broncos also add redshirt freshman Joey Nebeker, who was Idaho’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2012 after posting averages of 22.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game as a high school senior. Even with the eventual loss of Watkins head coach Leon Rice will have options in the front court, and Wacker’s commitment gives him one more option from which to choose when 2014 rolls around.
With Kyle Fuller entering his senior season and leading scorer Kedren Johnson suspended for the entire 2013-14 season, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings needed some reinforcements on the perimeter. Earlier this summer the Commodores received a verbal commitment from shooting guard Wade Baldwin, and late Sunday evening it was reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com that Charlotte, N.C. shooting guard Matthew Fisher-Davis has verbally committed to the SEC school (subscription required).
The 6-5 Fisher-Davis, who attends Charlotte Christian, is highly regarded as a perimeter shooter and his recruitment gained momentum back in July. In addition to Vanderbilt, Fisher-Davis considered programs such as Georgia, Wake Forest and Virginia before making the decision to commit according to Jamie Shaw of the Phenom Hoop Report. Fisher-Davis took an official visit to Vanderbilt in late August, with Baldwin also taking an official to the SEC school that weekend.
Last season was a tough one for the Commodores, as key personnel losses from a team that won the SEC tournament in 2012 proved to be too much to overcome. Johnson’s 13.5 points per game are gone (as is leading rebounder Kevin Bright, who signed a professional contract to play in his native Germany), leaving forward Rod Odom (10.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Fuller (8.7, 2.3) as the team’s leading returnees from a statistical standpoint.
And with both players being seniors, the development of guards Eric McClellan and Dai-Jon Parker becomes an important aspect of the 2013-14 campaign. Both McClellan and Parker will have eligibility remaining in 2014, as will forwards Shelby Moats, Damian Jones and Luke Kornet with the latter two being freshmen.
Here are a few highlights from Fisher-Davis’ junior season at Charlotte Christian, where he averaged 17.2 points per contest.