Unable to generate much buzz for its modest success on the floor in recent years, the University of Central Florida basketball program has found another way to attract attention.
On Monday, the Knights unveiled a new court design that's garish even by 2013 standards.
UCF's new "blacktop" floor is stained black everywhere outside the 3-point arcs to emulate outdoor courts often found at playgrounds. The school sent promotional materials to select media members the past few days as a way of publicizing the new floor.
"The court is part of our branding," UCF coach Donnie Jones said in a statement. "When you turn on the TV, you will know when UCF is playing. We are moving into a new league and will have new opportunities for exposure and the timing is right for a new floor, as well."
UCF joins the legion of college basketball programs hoping to strengthen their brand recognition with distinctive new floors.
Oregon launched the trend in 2010 with its fir tree-lined court. More schools seem to follow suit every offseason, from Long Beach State's palm trees, to George Washington's D.C. monuments, to Florida International's beach theme.
What makes UCF's blacktop court among the more unusual is that much of the floor will be a non-traditional color. Northwestern toyed with the idea of going all-purple a couple years ago before opting for a more conservative look. Cal State Bakersfield went all-blue in 2011, conjuring thoughts of Boise State's iconic blue turf football field.
Now UCF is making the leap, with the design receiving mixed reviews thus far. There's no doubt the new court will turn some heads, but the only way for the Knights to truly achieve the brand recognition they crave is to win enough games in the new American Athletic Conference to be relevant.
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