Donnie Jones

Associated Press

Three-star point guard headed to UCF

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Sunday afternoon UCF head coach Donnie Jones and his staff reeled in their third verbal commitment in the Class of 2016, adding another player capable of running the point in the process.

6-foot-2 guard Jeremy Carter-Sheppard announced that he’ll be a Knight in 2016, joining forwards Clayton Hughes and Brachen Hazen as verbal commitments in UCF’s class for that year. Carter-Sheppard attends John Marshall HS in Richmond, Virginia, and he played on a Team Loaded VA grassroots team that included prospects such as Kentucky commit Sacha Killeya-Jones and recent Duke pledge Javin DeLaurier.

Carter-Sheppard took his official visit to UCF last weekend. His ability as a ball-handler and distributor will fill a need for UCF in 2016-17.

Of UCF’s three seniors entering the 2015-16 season one, Daiquan Walker, is a perimeter player. UCF has to replace its assists leader from last season in Brandon Goodwin, with Walker and leading scorer B.J. Taylor among those who will need to fill that role. There will be room for Carter-Sheppard to earn immediate playing time as a freshman, due in part to the eventual departure of Walker.

Three-star small forward commits to UCF

Associated Press
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Having already landed one wing prospect in the Class of 2016, UCF landed a second Tuesday night as Indiana native Brachen Hazen announced that he’ll play his college basketball for head coach Donnie Jones.

“Proud to say that I’ve committed to the University of Central Florida! Thank you to all the coaches that have recruited me this long,” Hazen said via Twitter, and he joins guard/forward Clayton Hughes in UCF’s 2016 recruiting class to date. Hazen also held offers from programs such as Ball State, Clemson, Creighton, Illinois State, Maryland, Richmond and Valparaiso.

“Brachen Hazen is an intriguing combo forward pickup for UCF as he brings athleticism and a developing skill set to the position,” NBC Sports recruiting insider Scott Phillips said of the newest Knight. “A bouncy player who plays in attack mode, once Hazen improves his perimeter jumper he could be a tough player to guard in the American.”

The 6-foot-8 Hazen was an Indiana Large School All-State selection after his junior season at Columbia City HS. Hazen played for the Spiece Indy Heat program on the Nike EYBL circuit this summer, averaging 11.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

UCF doesn’t have a senior on the wing on this season’s roster, and point guard Daiquan Walker is the team’s lone senior on the perimeter as a whole. Among the players who will have eligibility remaining when Hazen and Hughes arrive on campus are current juniors Matt Williams and Tanksley Efianayi, sophomores Adonis Henriquez and A.J. Davis, and freshman Chance McSpadden.

Junior college guard/forward verbally commits to UCF

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At the end of the 2013-14 season UCF lost its two best perimeter options in Isaiah Sykes and Calvin Newell Jr., who combined to average 27.3 points and 6.4 assists per contest. Head coach Donnie Jones added three freshmen to the ranks this season, and they’ll help as the Knights look to account for those key losses moving forward.

Sunday evening, the program received a commitment from a junior college product capable of helping UCF on the perimeter in 2015.

6-foot-5 Daytona State College (Florida) guard/forward Tanksley Efianayi, who visited UCF this weekend, has verbally committed to the American Athletic Conference program. News of Efianayi’s commitment was first reported by Brad Winton of JucoRecruiting.com. Efianayi was also considering Arizona State and St. John’s.

Efianayi is the third commitment for UCF in the Class of 2015, joining guard Chance McSpadden and forward Chad Brown. As a freshman at Daytona State College Efianayi averaged 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest, shooting 48.5% from the field and just over 31 percent from beyond the arc. Efianayi reached double figures in 25 of the 29 games he played in, with his season-high being 28 points.

UCF loses just one senior at the end of the 2014-15 season, starting forward and leading returning scorer Kasey Wilson (9.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg in 2013-14).

2014-15 Season Preview: College Coaches on the Hot Seat

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Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon (Getty Images)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Last season, Rick Barnes headlined our ‘Coaches on the Hot Seat’ list. He then proceeded to advance to the Round of 32 in the in the NCAA tournament, land a top five recruit in McDonald’s All-American Myles Turner and turn Texas into a team that will be ranked in the preseason top ten. His job? It’s now safe.

This year’s list features a couple of other big-name coaches as well as a few experienced guys who simply aren’t living up to the high expectations set on them. Here are our top ten Coaches on the Hot Seat:

1. Mark Turgeon, Maryland: It’s bad enough that Turgeon is without a NCAA Tournament appearance in three seasons at Maryland. Turgeon is 59–43 (.578) overall and 23–29 (.442) in the ACC at Maryland and never finished above 7th in the league. It won’t get much easier in the Big Ten this season, especially after Maryland lost five players to transfer this offseason. Turgeon even blamed himself for the transfers and has to rely on five new players to fill out the rotation.

2. Oliver Purnell, DePaul: Besides coaching 26 years and never winning a NCAA Tournament game, Purnell has struggled to turn around an already horrible situation at DePaul. He has talent in place this season at DePaul, but Purnell needs to win in year five of a seven-year deal. In four seasons, Purnell is 42–77 (.353) overall and 9–57 (.136) in the Big East. DePaul has won no more than three Big East games every season since 2007-08 and badly needs some positive momentum before they enter a new arena in a couple seasons.

3. Donnie Jones, UCF: Jones has a 76–52 overall record at UCF, but he’s 29–37 in conference play and he’s never made the NCAA Tournament. When you also consider his 2010-11 wins were vacated for using ineligible players, and Jones was suspended for the first three Conference USA games and sent a letter of reprimand while the program was put on probation, that’s not a good look. UCF struggled to a 4-14 finish in the AAC last season and didn’t look ready for the jump from Conference USA.

MORE: Best non-conference games | NBCSports.com’s Preseason Top 25 Countdown

4. Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech: Since taking the Georgia Tech job, Gregory has a 43–52 (.453) overall record and 16-36 (.308) record in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets have never finished above 9th in the league in Gregory’s three seasons.

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Tom Crean (AP Photo)

5. Tom Crean, Indiana: The overall record for Crean at Indiana isn’t all that impressive, but the first three seasons were a rebuilding effort from the Kelvin Sampson sanctions. The Hoosiers made two consecutive Sweet 16s before struggling to go 17-15 last season and missing the NCAA Tournament. If Indiana has another lackluster year, could Crean be gone?

6. Anthony Grant, Alabama: Much like Crean at Indiana, Grant led Alabama to three consecutive postseason appearances — one NCAA Tournament — before a record of 13-19 last season. Grant has never won a NCAA Tournament game at Alabama and the program has lost 14 consecutive road games.

7. Kevin Willard, Seton Hall: Seton Hall brings in a good recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Whitehead this season, but can Willard win enough to save his job? He’s 66–65 (.504) overall and 24–48 (.333) in the Big East and has earned just one NIT berth during his tenure in South Orange. As Seton Hall’s head coach, Willard has never finished above 8th in the conference.

8. Steve Lavin, St. John’s: St. John’s made a NCAA Tournament appearance in its first season with Lavin at the helm, but hasn’t reached the Big Dance in three seasons since. Recruiting efforts have also taken a slight dip, as Lavin didn’t land any blue-chippers in 2014 and has yet to land any commitments in 2015.

9. Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss: The tenure of Kennedy at Ole Miss is filled with NIT appearances and near-.500 SEC conference records, but a 19-14 season and the loss of four underclassmen last offseason aren’t good signs. Kennedy needs a fast turnaround to the postseason to get his name back in good standing.

10. Travis Ford, Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State has reached the NCAA Tournament four times under Ford but they’ve been one and done in each appearance, and this year the Cowboys will move forward without Marcus Smart and Markel Brown. Ford needs to make noise in March to make Cowboy fans happy.

2014 SG Adonys Henriquez commits to Central Florida

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Donnie Jones is at it again. Less than two weeks after earning a commitment from Alex Owens, a top player in the class of 2015 from from Orlando, FL, Jones received good news on Sunday morning when Adonys Henriquez verbally committed to play at Central Florida.

Henriquez, like Jones, is from Orlando and is ranked as a Top 100 recruit in ESPN’s class of 2014 rankings.

ESPN’s Reggie Rankin broke the news:

Henriquez formerly committed to Miami (FL), but backed out of that commitment in late August. Back out of Miami to commit to Central Florida — that’s really saying something as to what Henriquez thinks of the program Donnie Jones is building at UCF. The fact that two of the top players in Florida are heading to UCF rather than the big three schools — Florida, Florida State, or Miami — is pretty darn impressive.

Having been an assistant at Florida for Billy Donovan from 1996-2007, prior to being the head coach at Marshall from 2007-10, it’s clear Jones knows what it takes to recruit in the Sunshine state.

Along with UCF, Butler was courting Henriquez very hard; just last weekend, Henriquez was on an official visit to Butler.

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_