Nationally speaking, the University of Central Florida is pretty much an afterthought. Few around the United States are aware that UCF is the sixth-largest school in the country, and fewer know about the quality of campus life that at first glance looks just like a Disney Resort. When it comes to the athletic programs, the Knights barely register on the national radar.
The football program is best known for its coach who has a checkered past and the current lawsuit from the family of Ereck Plancher, the young man who collapsed and died a little over a year ago. To make matters worse, the 2007 C-USA football championship that the school celebrated was followed up by a 4-8 regular season in 2008, and there was yet another workout incident, this time involving Brandon Davis. Fortunately for everyone involved, Davis is now healthy and the school and team are both trying to move on.
The UCF basketball team is best known for having a great color combination for their uniforms, but they also boasted one of the best players in the country who could be a lottery pick in Jermaine Taylor. Taylor's game is reminiscent of Dwayne Wade, as he challenges the basket with reckless abandon, can jump out of the gym, and has a fantastic mid-range game. Still, Taylor was mostly void of any national notoriety as his Knights faltered down the stretch, dropping nine of their last 11 games, including a dismal performance in their first-round exit in the C-USA tournament at the hands of Southern Miss.
The Knights baseball team is in a full rebuilding phase, as new skipper Terry Rooney is trying to make due with one of the worst pitching staffs in the country. Although the Knights new stadium is beautiful, along with all of the on-campus facilities, there seems to be a negative aura around campus.
The first good news in a long time came when UCF basketball head coach Kirk Speraw landed a big name recruit, actually the biggest named recruit maybe ever, in Marcus Jordan. Although Jordan may not even be the best player in his freshman class at UCF thanks to Keith Clanton and Nik Garcia, he does have quite a name, and with that name comes excitement which can bring casual or non-fans into the beautiful UCF Arena.
"The future is exceptionally bright for our program," Speraw said. "We are continuing to improve our talent base here at UCF as a result of the commitment from our administration in regards to facilities and the hard work of our coaching staff on the recruiting trail. Nik and Marcus are great additions to our program."
Is it a lot of pressure on an incoming freshman to sell tickets? Sure, but somebody has to, and fans around Orlando weren't aware of one of the best basketball players in the nation that was right in their own backyard.
Is Marcus his father? No, absolutely not. If he was, let's face it, he likely wouldn't have considered UCF as a place to spend his next four years, but he's a good player who will immediately be the most recognizable player on the Knights next year.
When asked about his decision, this is what Jordan had to say—
"I want to go somewhere that the team really wants me. I don't care if it's a big high D-I school; I just want to go in and play. I want to go to a school that wants me and fits into the system."
Jordan is known as a hard-worker, like his dad, and he's a player who won't take any possessions off. If he does, he will find himself sitting on folded seats on coach Speraw's bench, as Speraw demands effort and discipline from his teams.
Jordan has experienced team success on the court, as he led his Whitney Young H.S. Dolphins to the Illinois State 4A Championship last month, as he scored a game-high 19 points.
Although Jordan is a winner, much like his legendary dad, the similarities end there. He's not 6'6", he's 6'2". Marcus has plenty of athleticism, but he's not going to be dunking from any free throw lines. In fact, Marcus plays a different position, point guard.
"I love to run and push the ball and find the open guy," Jordan said. "I really want to play point guard and make my team better."
Marcus Jordan's mere presence alone is something that can help catapult UCF out if it's current athletic funk and into the conferences' elite. Now all that has to happen is Jordan to enroll, and become the most recognizable athlete in the world like his father.
Jordan Bringing It to UCF
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