Tacko Fall, the 2016-17 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft and will return to the UCF men’s basketball program for his junior season.

“First off I want to thank God for putting me in the position that I’m in, but also I want to thank the NBA teams for the opportunity to showcase my skills for them during this process,” Fall said. “After getting all of the feedback I needed, I have made the decision to return to UCF and play in front of Knight Nation next season. I look forward to improving my game next year with the ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.”

Fall, who was also a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and earned Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America honors, averaged 10.9 points per game, led The American shooting 71.5 percent from the field, and was second in the league in rebounding with 9.5 per contest.

After working out for the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets, Fall took in enough information from the early draft process to make the decision to come back to the Knights for the upcoming 2017-18 campaign.

“Tacko has always made great decisions,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said Wednesday. “It shows a lot that Tacko went through this process, received a lot of positive feedback from the NBA and wanted to return to be with his teammates. He knows that he is capable of playing in the NBA, but he wants to continue to grow and develop here, not just as a basketball player but as a student as well.”

Fall helped lead UCF to one of its best seasons in history last year, finishing with an overall mark of 24-12, advancing to the semifinals of The American Tournament, earning a postseason berth to the National Invitation Tournament, and eventually reaching the NIT Final Four in New York City.

With Fall in the fold, the Knights led the nation in defensive field goal percentage, holding opponents to just 36.5 percent shooting. UCF was also sixth in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 61.2 points per game, and gave up 45 points or less in four games during the 2016-17 season.

Fall returns to Orlando as the program’s career leader in field goal percentage (.727), second in career blocked shots (164), and sixth in rebounds per game (7.9).

Season tickets for the 2017-18 season are on sale now. Purchase new or renew season tickets now to get in on the action as the Knights prepare for the second season under head coach Johnny Dawkins.

Call (407) 823-1000 to purchase or learn more information.

Fans can purchase new season tickets for 2017-18 here: www.ucfknights.com/jointhefamily

Fans looking to renew their season tickets for 2017-18 can click here: www.ucfknights.com/18hoops