Jones Pleased with Team Effort

Nov. 20, 2010

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By Doug Richards

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF posted a pair of impressive wins - a blowout victory over Jackson State and a tough, gritty triumph over cross-state rival USF - within the last six days. Yet when Conference USA announces its player of the week Monday, you can be sure that a Knight will not be the award winner.

Off to a 3-0 start under new head coach Donnie Jones, the Knights are winning not because of great individual performances, but due to a total team effort. UCF had four players finish with double figures in scoring in Thursday's 65-59 win over USF, and even those who are not scoring are making an impact on the defensive end.

"We want to win with our team. It is about our team," Jones said. "It is not about the individuals. That is what makes this team unique. There is going to be a different focus on different players each night."

Sophomores Marcus Jordan and Keith Clanton entered the game against the Bulls averaging 20.5 and 18.0 points per game, respectively, but combined for 21 points Thursday. Instead, juniors A.J. Rompza (15 points) and Isaac Sosa (13) picked up the scoring slack.

Jones constantly tells his players that they can be a factor without scoring the ball, and senior A.J. Tyler was proof of that versus USF. The forward missed all five of his field goal attempts in 21 minutes off the bench, but was effective defensively against talented USF post players like Augustus Gilchrist and Jarrid Famous. Tyler finished with four rebounds and a career-best four blocks.

"He was really impactful with the way that he defended and the way that he rebounded the ball," Jones said. "His senior leadership by doing those things down the stretch was vital for us."

The Knights will be seeking their fourth-straight win to open the campaign on Tuesday when they travel to DeLand to face Stetson. UCF's next home contest is next Saturday against visiting Alabama State.