Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
By JACK LeGWINSpecial to ZAGSBLOG
Over the past several days, Central Florida coach Donnie Jones has reeled in two top Florida players from the class of 2015.
On Tuesday, Corey Sanders, a 6-foot-1 point guard out of IMG Bradenton (Fla.) Academy committed to the Knights, and was followed a day later by Alex Owens, a 6-8, 245-pound power forward out of Orlando Oak Ridge (Fla.).
Sanders, ranked No. 76 in the country by Rivals.com, chose the Knights over Memphis, Murray State, Tennessee, and Marquette, while Owens, ranked No. 71, picked UCF over Cincinnati, Louisville, Florida, Florida State, Maryland, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Missouri, N.C. State, Providence and USF.
Owens told SNY.tv that the decision came pretty naturally.
“UCF is very close to my home,” Owens told SNY.tv. “My family everyone would love to see me play more, but I’m gone all the time playing AAU, and travel ball, that they never get to see me play. When I went to UCF, it was just different. It felt like a family there, they changed conferences recently, and I feel like I can go in and make a difference right away.”
Both players bring different playing styles to the table. Owens, one of the best pure rebounders in the class, played his summer basketball for Each 1 Teach 1 Elite 17U with Joel Berry, Grayson Allen, and D’Angelo Russell, among other talented players, and he brings a toughness that UCF had with Keith Clanton for the past couple years. He will be a key big man for the Knights.
Sanders, despite being listed at 6-1, is one of the most explosive players in the country. His willingness to take contact in the paint, and ability to get his own shot will play big dividends when he moves on to college ball. Sanders plays his summer basketball with Showtime Ballers from Orlando and his good friend and No. 27-ranked player in the class of 2015, Dwayne Bacon.
There have been some circulating rumors that Bacon will join this recruiting class with Owens and Sanders. He made it clear yesterday though that he has not made a decision yet.
“I’m still open to anyone I have not committed yet!! Stop the rumors please!!!” he tweeted yesterday.
Jones currently has Adonys Henriquez on the radar, and Henriquez is taking notice.
“Butler and Central Florida are my two favorites at this moment,” Henriquez told SNY.tv. a week ago. “They both fit my style of play, and I feel like I could come in and play at both places right away.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.