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Kentucky Basketball Preview: Kevin Knox is the superstar Wildcats needed

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Kevin Knox is one of the least talked about young stars of the 2017-18 college hoops season.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky Media Day Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kevin Knox commitment on Derby Day seemed an absolute gift and surprise for Kentucky fans and John Calipari. It was already concluded that he was going to Duke. The 24/7 Crystal Ball had it around 80% to Duke, UNC was in second place, and Kentucky a distant third.

Knox’s commitment gave the Kentucky Wildcats a much needed win against Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils. But more importantly, it gave John Calipari one of the best players in the class. And for some reason, nobody is talking about him except Kentucky fans.

#5 Kevin Knox

Height: 6’9

Weight: 216 lbs

Position: Wing

Year: Freshman

High School: Tampa Catholic High School

Follow on Twitter @Kevin_Knox23

Follow on Instagram @kknox_23

Knox is a versatile wing who can play with his back to the basket or thrive on the perimeter. His length and ability to play inside and outside, coupled with his athleticism, will make Knox one of the best pure scorers in college hoops this year.

He’ll also be one of the youngest and his true potential has yet to be tapped.

“Kevin Knox is going to be the youngest player in college basketball,” Calipari said in May. “Similar to a Devin Booker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, he comes in really, really young – but talented. He’s a long, skilled player who, again, has a will to get better. I’m anxious to see his growth because I think it will be off the chain. Great kid, character kid who comes from a great family.”

Before his time was cut short at the U19 tryouts in Colorado, Knox was by far the best player on the floor. When asked about him, all Cal could do was shake his head and smile.

Unfortunately for Knox and Team USA, he was sent home with an injury as a precaution. With him, Team USA probably would have had enough offense to counter RJ Barrett and Team Canada.

2017/2018 Outlook: Knox was recruited to come play the small forward and shooting guard positions at Kentucky. He has a unique skill set for a 6’9 player that reminds people of Kevin Durant.

That’s lofty praise, but Kevin Knox would rather shoot from the perimeter and drive to the basket than sit on the block and do post moves. He is going to be a match-up nightmare for almost every swing man and two guard he will face.

One of the biggest questions facing this Kentucky team is whether or not they will be able to shoot effectively. Knox should provide enough of a perimeter threat to force teams to play man-to-man. He is a tailormade zone buster with his deadly mid-range jumper.

At 6’9, his ability to rise and fire higher than his opponent is what truly sets him apart. We’re already seeing that in the exhibition slate, as Knox has been unstoppable with the ball in his hand.

In a win over Thomas More, Knox led all scorers with 27 points. Then against Morehead State, Knox chipped in 16 points and a thunderous jam:

Make no mistake about it, he is athletic as well and can take defenders off the dribble. With all of his offensive prowess and size, it’s a little puzzling as to why he’s not being talked about as one of the elite players coming into college basketball this season.

Most of the love is going to Marvin Bagley, Michael Porter, Jr., and Wendell Carter. Knox has the potential to be as good of any of those other players.

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