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June 24, 2013

UCF shows off new black court

UCF's new "blacktop" court was officially unveiled to the media on Monday afternoon.

The court, which features a black stain outside the three-point lines, gives the Knights a bold look as they enter their first season in the American Athletic Conference.

"I think when you turn on the TV, you'll know UCF is playing," men's basketball coach Donnie Jones said. "I think it's got a unique look to it, but it's not too strong. I think it's got a great traditional buzz to it with our school colors. I think this will be a great thing that all of our fans will be proud to come here and cheer our sports on."

The concept and implementation was a joint effort by members of UCF administration, coaches, Connor Sports Flooring, the manufacturer, and Praters Flooring, which sanded, painted and sealed the court. Carlos Phillips, who is a graphics designer for the athletic department, engineered the look in conjunction with Zack Lassiter, UCF's Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations.

Using the hashtag #OperationBlacktop, UCF's marketing department took to social media last week to build anticipation for Monday's reveal, so it should come as no surprise the court features UCF's official Twitter handle, @UCFKnights, as well as #ChargeOn, the school's new rallying cry, painted along the sidelines.

"It's a new start and building on old tradition," Jones said. "I think as we move forward that's what we want to do is continue to build. This floor is a piece of it and what we're trying to do. Obviously moving into a new league, I think it's a great time."

The new court comes on the heels of a contract extension for Jones, which was announced Friday. UCF is adding three years to the original five-year deal, putting him under contract through the 2017-18 season. Jones has led UCF to three consecutive 20-win seasons, including CBI and NIT berths his first two years.

"I'm very excited for our staff," Jones said. "I'm very excited for our basketball family as well. We love UCF. We couldn't be more appreciative of the support we've received from Dr. Hitt and obviously Todd Stansbury coming in. Our administration has been so supportive of me since they arrived.

"We're here to do what we planned to do three years ago. We've had some pockets of success over the last three years. I think now moving into the next level it's an important time for us now to continue to build and now we have time to do that. I think it sends a message to recruits and people out there that we're going to be here and that we're trying to build something special at UCF."

Senior Isaiah Sykes caught his first glimpse of the finished product on Monday morning. He was anxious to give it a try as their first summer workout was scheduled for later in the afternoon.

"Coach Jones shot me a text and told me about it," Sykes said. "He gave me a little picture of it. It was a great court. It turned out even better when I saw the floor. It's all exciting. I'm looking forward to playing on it... It's a good look. It's going to bring a lot of excitement for our program."

UCF's 2013-14 schedule will be released at a later date, but the Knights' home slate will feature visits from all nine fellow American members: Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, South Florida, SMU and Temple. The Knights will also host Florida State in November.



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