UCF basketball players return for fifth year, thanks to NCAA COVID eligibility

Thanks to the NCAA, several University of Central Florida men's and women's basketball players are suiting up for a fifth year. 

They say they're going to make the most of it. 

"I’m glad I got to experience this all over again. COVID was just mind-blowing," UCF Tay Sanders told FOX 35 during media day on Thursday. 

Tay Sanders is one of three UCF women's basketball players using her extra year of eligibility. 

The NCAA is allowing Division I and Division II athletes another year to play after their season was disrupted by COVID-19. 

"This year definitely feels normal. We get to bond more with each other," Sanders said. 

Last season the women went to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. 

The fifth-year seniors came back because they say they want more. 

The same goes for the men's team, which has two seniors returning for another year. 

"Just the way last year ended, really. I think I have a lot of stuff to improve on. With the team we have this year, think we can do a lot of new things," guard, Darius Perry said. 

The Knights finished the 2020 season with an 11-12 record. 

But things are finally getting back to normal. The men go to go through summer training, which is something they didn't get to do last year. 

Head Coach Johnny Dawkins says it'll be beneficial. 

"Really happy to have our guys, their ability to get out there and work like that in the off-season. I think they’ve improved. I think we’ll all see that," Dawkins said. 

The women tip-off their season next Tuesday against Duquesne University. The men get things started against Robert Morris on Wednesday at home.

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