North Carolina

Kevin Knox explains why he chose Kentucky over Duke and UNC

KY coach Calipari celebrates 5-star Kevin Knox's commitment by dancing on hoverboard

Kentucky coach John Calipari rode around and danced on a hoverboard to celebrate 5-star recruit Kevin Knox's commitment to the Wildcats.
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Kentucky coach John Calipari rode around and danced on a hoverboard to celebrate 5-star recruit Kevin Knox's commitment to the Wildcats.

Kevin Knox II said Kentucky’s coaching staff, its transition offense and the chance to develop into a great player, are the three reasons he chose the Wildcats over Duke, North Carolina, Missouri and Florida State.

Knox, a 6-9, 203-pound five-star wing, and the No. 8 ranked recruit in the country, announced his college decision on Twitter Saturday evening. He tweeted “Big Blue Nation Let’s Go,” and a picture of himself wearing a Kentucky jersey.

“It’s definitely a great school as far as getting players in the league,” Knox said in a phone interview Saturday night.

Knox said after talking with Kentucky’s coaching staff, he felt like they would be tough on him and would help him get to the next level. Knox has said in the past he wanted to go to a school for one year before declaring for the NBA draft.

Both Duke and UNC had high hopes for landing Knox. He met with UNC’s Roy Williams and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in February and March. He attended the Duke-Carolina game in Chapel Hill and had meetings with both coaches after the game.

Krzyzewski had hoped Knox would step in for Duke like freshman star Jayson Tatum did. And Williams had hoped Knox would step in for the Tar Heels like Justin Jackson, who won ACC Player of the Year, did.

Knox said the other four schools were all on equal footing, and none emerged as second favorites. He said he thought he could have succeeded at any of them.

“Duke and UNC are great schools,” Knox said. “Duke has coached a lot of players who were versatile. UNC had the three spot open with Justin Jackson leaving.

“But at Kentucky a lot of players are staying and coming in that will push me in practice every day to get better. I just trusted what the coaches were saying.”

Knox played all four years of high school basketball at Tampa Catholic, in Tampa Bay, Fla. Last season, he averaged 28.9 points per game and 11.3 rebounds. His team lost in the finals of the Florida 5A state playoffs.

Knox adds to an already stacked recruiting class at Kentucky. With Knox, Kentucky now has five five-star recruits and two four-star recruits.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander

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