Knox’s surprise decision has led to a positive challenge for Calipari


Kentucky Wildcats guard Kevin Knox fights to grab a loose ball from forward Wenyen Gabriel during the Blue/White game on Friday, October 20, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Blue defeated White 88-67. Photo by Carter Gossett | Staff

Kentucky basketball usually makes headlines when it comes to the recruiting trail, but the biggest news surrounding UK recruiting might’ve been Kevin Knox’s decision.

It was widely believed that Knox would choose to go to Duke, but he wound up choosing the Cats on May 6. Knox’s decision surprised college basketball analysts all throughout the nation, but it was a well thought-out decision that led to him picking the right choice.

“My family and I, we just sat down and talked about, communicated with each other, prayed about it,” Knox said. “We just felt Kentucky was the best place for me to get to where my dreams and my goals are.”

The choice to come to Kentucky was tough for Knox considering that most of the “blue blood” schools recruited him. Knox said having hall of fame coaches come to his house and talk about their basketball programs made his recruiting decision.

However, Kentucky had something that not every other blue blood could offer, and that’s what made Knox lean toward UK.

“I want to get pushed to the max and get outside of my comfort zone, that’s something that Cal (John Calipari) and KP (Kenny Payne) are really known for doing is really pushing kids,” Knox said. “Cal was yelling at us and we haven’t even started the season yet, that’s something I wanted, was to be pushed.”

Another luxury that pushed Knox toward UK was the constant competition he would face in practices.

“That’s something you can’t really go wrong with,” Knox said. “You practice against five, six McDonald’s All-Americans every day so of course you’re going to get better and that’s something I like.”

Now, Knox is an integral member of UK’s team, as he figures to be one of the top players on the roster. Knox was the 11th best recruit from the 2017 class, according to 247Sports, and is the second best player that committed to Kentucky, behind Hamidou Diallo.

However, Knox is going to have the competition he was looking for, as he plays the position that the Cats have the most depth in, forward.

There are five players on the roster, including Knox, who are a similar height and play the same position as Knox.

All five deserve consideration for minutes, which leaves many wondering how Calipari is going to use all his talented forwards. Knox isn’t worried about earning minutes over his teammates, he instead thinks of how UK can use that depth to their advantage.

“We can get rebounds, push the basketball, we don’t have to look for a point guard, we can all dribble the ball,” Knox said. “There’s no real position we have, that’s something that coach Cal has really told us a lot.”

It’s because of this that Knox might be used at a guard position. It’s rare to see a 6-foot-9-inch player play guard, but when you have a bunch of talented forwards with guard-like skills, that’s a luxury Calipari is going to use.

Luckily for Calipari, Knox would be a fitting player to play the two-position, as he’s one of the better shooters on the team

“When you talked about shooters, he (Knox) might be — he and Jemarl (Baker) — be our best shooters,” Calipari said.

It will likely take some time for Calipari to figure out how to use Knox and the other forwards, but that’s a puzzle Calipari is likely willing to solve.