The CFF sports staff weighs in: What should fans look forward to in 2012-2013?
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 17:04
Loaded backcourt will be best show on campus
Where should fans be looking for fun and excitement in 2012-13?
The UCF Arena; specifically, the men’s basketball team’s backcourt.
The combination of returning guards and newly eligible transfers will have Donnie Jones’ bunch among the most talented backcourts in the land. Don’t be overly surprised if the Knights run with a four-guard and one-forward lineup against most teams.
Isaiah Sykes is a star in the making, with highlight-reel leaping ability and a knack for racking up hustle points, blocking shots and diving for loose balls. Sykes has committed himself to improving his jump shot, and the better his perimeter game gets, the higher the ceiling gets for this talented guard.
Marcus Jordan is a smart and composed player who isn’t afraid to take big shots and make them.
Jordan didn’t play his best ball down the stretch last season, but one has to expect the Chicago native will be geared up and ready for his senior season. Also, with more improved scoring options around, Jordan’s underrated ability as a passer will be able to shine.
New to the Knights next season will be transfer guards C.J. Reid and Calvin Newell. Reid gave the Knights fits when he was playing for Bethune-Cookman and will fit in nicely at point guard for Jones, and Newell, an Oklahoma transfer, is super athletic and has the ability to score in bunches.
Whether or not this group will translate into enough wins for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament or a Conference USA championship is hard to say. But what isn’t hard to say is that the Knights’ backcourt will be the most exciting show on campus next year, with an exciting blend of raw athleticism and mental toughness.
--Steven Ryzewski, Sports Editor
There’s a Storm on the horizon
UCF football fans, get excited for running back Storm Johnson.
The University of Miami transfer and newest member of the Knights’ backfield was a highly touted recruit out of Loganville (Ga.) High School in 2010. He committed to the Hurricanes but a crowded backfield down south made him head north.
UCF is lucky to have him.
Johnson, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds according to Rivals.com, is an electrifying runner with great size at 6-foot-1, 217 pounds. He is the fastest, most dynamic rusher on the Knights’ roster who has NFL-type measurables and ability.
Coming out of high school, he’d rushed for 1,937 yards and 31 touchdowns his senior year of high school.
Look it up on YouTube – he hits the hole quickly and reaches top speed as he enters the secondary, rushing past reaching defenders.
Johnson, who will be a redshirt sophomore, joins another crowded backfield at UCF that features Latavius Murray and Brynn Harvey. Each has one more year at UCF.
But for the 2012 season, I guarantee Johnson will get his playing time. George O’Leary tends to shift the rotation throughout the season.
Remember when former Knight Ronnie Weaver led the Knights throughout much of the 2010 regular season? Toward the end of that year, the run-happy O’Leary replaced a beat-up Weaver with Murray.
Murray ran on fresh legs all the way to Memphis and scored the winning touchdown against Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.
Johnson can do the same thing. Expect Johnson to get his time later when he is fresh and opposing defenses are not.
--Wes Goldberg, Senior Staff Writer
Sullivan will put offense of surging softball program on her back
It is an accepted truth around the diamond: UCF softball is having a largely successful year.
Not only did the Knights rattle off a 10-game winning streak this season, they also shutout the Florida Gators, 2-0, the most potent offense in the SEC.
It was the first home victory over the Gators in school history.
All cylinders are clicking, but one member of this 34-13 team that remains an impact athlete is freshman infielder Farrah Sullivan.
Sullivan is a sleeper pick for 2013 fantasy softball leagues.
Sullivan was already making waves as an everyday player, but it was her three home run outburst during a doubleheader sweep of UTEP in early April that intensified the spotlight.
In her first year as a member of UCF softball, Sullivan leads the team in RBIs (31), ranks second in homers (5) and is batting .284.