Kentucky added one of the most athletic wings in the 2017 recruiting class after securing the commitment of Kevin Knox on Saturday, after the small forward announced his decision on Twitter:
BIG BLUE NATION LETS GO🔵🔵⚪️⚪️
Knox is the No. 2 small forward and the No. 9 player overall on Scout.com.
The senior did a little bit of everything for Tampa (Florida) Catholic High School in his junior year. According to MaxPreps, he averaged 28.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.9 blocks a game. Through 29 games this season, the numbers remain mostly the same (29.2 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.2 SPG and 2.0 BPG).
The numbers are evidence of Knox’s versatility. He’s a dynamic scorer who can use his athleticism to get into the paint. That athleticism also comes in handy when he’s crashing the boards. Despite being only 6’8″, he can outleap taller opponents to grab the ball as it’s coming off the rim.
Dakota Schmidt of SB Nation’s Ridiculous Upside shared a clip of Knox’s leaping ability:
Dakota Schmidt @Dakota_Schmidt
Example of Kevin Knox getting an offensive board in traffic and putting in a quick bucket. https://t.co/t7VpMFajrt
Three-point shooting is one of the few areas where Knox clearly needs to improve. He’s making a concerted effort to add a long-range jumper to his offensive arsenal, but he’s not yet knocking down threes at an efficient enough level, courtesy of MaxPreps:
|Kevin Knox Three-Point Shooting|
In an interview with SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell, Knox shed light on the player he wants to become: “I like to watch a lot of Kevin Durant, Brandon Ingram and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those tall lanky wings that can handle the ball and shoot it.”
Like Durant and Antetokounmpo in particular, Knox is a bit on the leaner side. He’s listed at 205 pounds on Scout.com, which isn’t much when spread over his lanky frame. In comparison, NBA.com listed Durant at 6’9″ and 225 pounds in his 2007 draft profile. Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, was 6’9″ and 215 pounds.
The good news is that Knox’s flaws can mostly be solved—or at least improved to the extent they’re no longer problems.
He should naturally gain more muscle as he gets older and continues his weight training, and his three-point shooting should improve as he gets more and more practice.
Knox is an athlete who can contribute on both ends of the floor.
As is the case almost every year, Kentucky will face a talent exodus. Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox declared for the NBA draft, while Derek Willis will graduate.
Head coach John Calipari has rarely shied away from throwing true freshmen right into the fire, and Knox should be no different.
While his perimeter shooting may not be there immediately when he steps on the floor for Kentucky, he’ll be able to find other ways to score. On defense, he can guard multiple positions, with his length and speed causing problems for plenty of opponents.
Few freshmen will be more fun to watch than Knox.