‘til next year: The Donnie Jones era of UCF Basketball
long-suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs, the anthem is always the
same: Wait ‘til next year. Following a 56-54 loss to Tulsa in UCF’s
American Athletic Conference home opener, it seems fans of the
Knights’ Men’s Basketball team should get used to saying the same
you didn’t watch live at the CFE Arena or on television via ESPNU,
you missed two different storylines, but one similar result:
three minutes into the game, UCF trailed 8-0
Knights’ turnovers, including 11 in the first half
21 first half points, trailing by 15 at the break
American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week, Adonys Henriquez,
paced the Knights with a team-high 17 points
with a pair of big bodies in the lineup at the same time, Justin
McBride and Stephon Blair
strong second half rally helped UCF close the gap to two
Knights rang in 2015 before a sparse crowd and a starting lineup that
featured Dylan Karell and Shaheed Davis, both of whom would fail to
log even 10 minutes each in this contest. Why do I mention this? The
AAC opener marked the Knights 12th
game this season and UCF Head Coach Donnie Jones still doesn’t have
a consistent starting five.
does Jones have? His current version of the Knights fails on basic
fundamentals and lacks intensity. You could have said the same about
last year’s squad, too. In his fifth season (with a record that now
stands at 62-58 following Sunday’s loss at Temple) Donnie-ball
seems to be going nowhere fast.
play epitomized the mess UCF Men’s Basketball has become more than
the way the Knights executed with 13 seconds left versus the Golden
Hurricane. Coming out of a timeout and trailing by two (by the way,
the next time you’re at a UCF game watch how long it takes Coach
Jones to actually start talking with his team – the ever-lengthy
consultation with the carousel of coaches eats up most of a timeout)
guard Daiquan Walker (a junior who had already missed 5 of 6 shots
during the game) bounced the ball off the backboard and UCF stumbled
didn't get what we wanted," Jones told the Orlando Sentinel.
"Right when they saw zone, Daiquan just kept the ball. We had no
more timeouts. There wasn't much we could do, but hope it went in.”
Jones apologists will say he’s starting a couple of exciting
freshman, the bench isn’t deep, UCF is recovering from scholarship
reductions, there have been injuries and a promising list of signees
is heading our way. You know, ‘Wait ‘til next year’ talk.
over in Dallas, Head Coach Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs joined the
American from Conference USA at the same time as UCF. How has SMU
fared? 27-10 last season, including 12-6 in the AAC, and NIT
runner-ups. This season, the ponies are off to a 10-4 start and a 1-1
mark in the AAC and clearly zooming past UCF on the court.
what a difference good coaching makes.