The UCF men's basketball team is poised to sign their best recruiting class ever, but they aren't quite done yet. The Knights are in search of one more player to bring into the fold and one of Kirk Speraw's assistants recently made a trip to Kentucky to check in with one of the country's top unsigned guards.
Vee Sanford, a 6-foot-3 combo guard from Lexington Catholic, hosted associate head coach Mike Jaskulski in his home last Thursday.
"Coach Jaz is recruiting him from UCF and he's done a really good job," said Vee's father, Vince Sanford. "He came down and talked to us before the dead period and he brought across some really interesting things. He talked about how UCF is up and coming. I played at South Florida and they seem to have beaten South Florida this year. He was talking about how they got Marcus Jordan coming in. We've seen Marcus play because they played a game before we did in the Marshall County Hoop Fest. He's a kid that plays hard. We know they've got a good recruiting class coming in. It really seems like UCF is going to be on the verge of doing a lot of good things."
Mr. Sanford signed with Kentucky out of high school and later transferred to USF where he played from 1984-87. Tommy Tonelli, the Bulls' Director of Basketball Operations, was Sanford's roommate in college.
"You can't go wrong with USF or UCF," Sanford said. "Vee just has to figure out what he wants to do. Coach Jaz has done a good job in bringing stuff to our attention that I didn't realize myself. Some programs may be big now, but they weren't really big until they started getting the pieces together. That's what he was emphasizing to us. They're getting the right players and getting the pieces so now you can start getting to the NCAA Tournament."
UCF as well as several other schools have offered invitations for Sanford to make an official visit. He previously visited Bradley last fall.
"He has four left," Sanford said. "It's getting tight with the dead period and the signing period coming up. We're trying to get these visits set up so Vee can decide where he wants to go. He needs to close the chapter of high school and start the chapter of college. He just needs to evaluate the pros and cons of the schools, make a decision, then get set for summer school."
Mr. Sanford said his son would like to visit UCF and they hope to set up a date soon.
"We've never been been down there to UCF," Sanford said. "We've only seen what Coach Jaz has showed us and what I've seen on their Web site, but I've heard it's an unbelievable campus. He is supposed to visit Georgetown and Baylor. I need to double check, but I think Baylor is the 23rd of this month and Georgetown is going to be the 27th and 28th. They're going to be like back-to-back. Hopefully he'll get it set up where he'll get to UCF, then Georgia he's going to try to visit as well."
Iowa, Charlotte and Marshall are also in the mix. Huntington, W.V. is only a two-hour drive from Lexington so an unofficial visit is a possibility if they decide they want to check out the Thundering Herd.
Several of Sanford's visits may have to be mid-week trips due to scheduling conflicts on the weekends. He has a basketball engagement this coming weekend and his senior prom is the week after that.
"He's just looking for the right fit," Sanford said. "I want that for him too. He's my only son and I want whatever coach he plays for to treat him as if he's their own son. I want him somewhere where he's wanted. It's one thing to go to a school where you're not as wanted as opposed to another school where they really want you. Somewhere to get a fair shot to go out there and play. My main thing is for him to get his degree.
"He's still wide open, which a lot of people can't believe. Like I tell them, this is a life changing experience. You have to make sure you evaluate everything. He may take all his visits or one or two visits and then commit, but that's only if he gets somewhere and decides, 'This is where I want to be' and that would be after he's met the coaches, players, administrators and see how the campus life is going to be. It's a new chapter of your life so you've got to make sure it's the right fit for you."
Sanford averaged 21.9 points and five rebounds as a senior.
"Vee is a combo guard," Sanford said. "He can play the one, two, score and set the offense up. He can pass and penetrate. He's just a team player. He's a guard. The reason I say that is we were watching ESPN one day and Bobby Knight was on there talking about some guards and not labeling them as a one or two. He said he just liked guards and I said to Vee, 'That's what you are.' You can handle the ball real well, run the point and play the two. He's a solid combo and plays both well."