John Calipari says Knox is going through a “funk”


Freshman Forward Kevin Knox shoots a free throw against Georgia Sunday, December 31, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 66-61. Photo by Edward Justice | Staff

Abbie Long

Freshman forward Kevin Knox was virtually non-existent in Kentucky basketball’s win against Georgia on Sunday night, and head coach John Calipari agrees that Knox is in a bit of a “funk” right now.

Knox played 28 minutes against Georgia and had a total of seven points and four rebounds. He shot 2-10 from the field and was 1-4 from behind the three-point line.

“You’re talking about Kevin Knox, the youngest freshman in the country, and again, as a coach I always want to evaluate them when things are not going great,” Calipari said.

The “funk” was present during Friday’s win against Louisville as well. Knox scored eight points, shot 2-8 from the field and was 0-3 from behind the three-point line. Knox only played 17 minutes in that game.

Freshman guard Hamidou Diallo categorized Knox’s scoring drought as “growing pains.”

“Things like that happen, that just means you have to bring other things to the game. Unfortunately you can’t make every shot,” Diallo said.

Early in the season, Knox scored double digits for eight straight games until the Dec. 9 game against Monmouth, in which he only scored four points. Since then, Knox’s offense has slowly started to diminish.

Freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as well as Diallo emphasized that they, and the rest of the team, have shown nothing but support and have continued to encourage Knox during this rough patch.

“We all know Kevin is a special talent and he will be fine,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “He just needs to take a step back and smile a little bit more.”

As a whole, UK struggled to make baskets in the win against Georgia. At the end of the first half, the Cats only shot 20 percent from the field, and 31 percent for the game. It wasn’t just Knox who struggled offensively.

Recap: UK overcomes offensive struggles to defeat Georgia

This UK team plans on working together and with Knox to improve its offense for the games to come. Right now Diallo said he keeps telling Knox to stay strong on defense.

“We tell him to keep defending. We just try to keep talking and work through the low points,” Diallo said.

Calipari said that in order for them to win, Knox has to be one of the guys he can rely on.

“I’m calling his number a lot, even if he is not playing great,” Calipari said. “I know he has to play for us to win.”