Kevin Knox decides to turn pro


Kentucky freshman forward Kevin Knox shakes hands with his teammates prior to the game against Kansas State in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Friday, March 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. Kentucky was defeated 61-58. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Kernel Sports Staff

Two weeks after UK’s loss to Kansas State in the Sweet 16, freshman forward Kevin Knox has decided to turn pro by declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft and hiring an agent.

Knox’s decision reportedly came down to the wire, according to SEC Country. Knox flew back home to Tampa Bay, Florida, on Thursday to meet one last time with his parents before deciding.

Now that he’s heading for the draft, Knox projects to be a late-lottery or mid-first round pick. Knox finished his freshman season averaging a team-high 15.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

“Kevin came in as one of the youngest freshmen in the country and adapted as well as any player I have ever coached,” said UK head coach John Calipari, per a press release. “He improved in every area of his game, became an efficient scorer like some of the best players I’ve coached here and could score all types of ways.”

Knox was just one of two freshmen this past season to have 30-point games, along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has not yet announced his intentions for next season either. He scored 34 points in UK’s comeback win at West Virginia, which was the sixth most points scored by any player in the Calipari-era.

Knox was UK’s leading scorer in 12 separate games last season, which was tied for the team-lead with Gilgeous-Alexander. Knox also led the Cats in rebounds in eight games last season, which was tied for the team-high along with Nick Richards.

After the regular season, Knox was named to the All-SEC First Team, and the Co-SEC Freshman of the Year along with Alabama’s Collin Sexton by league coaches. Knox was also named to the All-SEC Tournament Team along with Gilgeous-Alexander and Wenyen Gabriel. 

“He’s one of the greatest kids I’ve ever coached,” Calipari said. “He was a great teammate, a great student and a great player.”

With Knox departing, the Cats will be in charge of replacing their leading scorer for the 11th consecutive season once the fall comes.