Saturday night was one of celebration in Kentucky for more reasons than one.
In addition to the Kentucky Derby taking place, UK managed to land five-star wing Kevin Knox to the shock of everyone. After the decision, Twitter was LIT:
BBN ⚪️ ⚪️ ⚪️— PJ Washington (@pjwashington_25) May 6, 2017
BBN Let's get it!!— Jarred Vanderbilt (@JVando_) May 7, 2017
Knox’s future teammates seem pretty happy to have him.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) May 6, 2017
Five roses on the same day the 143rd Run for the Roses took place.
Kevin Knox to Kentucky. LOTS of recruiting kudos on this one! pic.twitter.com/u7124Wr10G— Gary Moyers_TCP (@gmoyers) May 6, 2017
Assist to Vanderbilt!
This class is absolutely stacked, which is exactly what Kentucky needed with as many as nine players leaving off of last season’s roster.
I'm rarely shocked by a college commitment. I'm very surprised by Kevin Knox's.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) May 6, 2017
WHOA. Total stunner. I know no one who thought this was happening. What a monster addition for UK. https://t.co/ZR7hz6fbwK— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) May 6, 2017
WOW. Five-star forward Kevin Knox picks Kentucky. Never count out John Calipari. Never doubt that man.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) May 6, 2017
It’s safe to say that everyone was surprised by this decision, but it was a pleasent surprise for Big Blue Nation.
Yahtzee. The whole BBN will like that one. Congrats Coach Cal— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) May 7, 2017
If Kentucky now adds Bamba too ... all freshman lineup but No. 1 preseason?— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) May 6, 2017
There shouldn’t be any doubt about Kentucky being the No. 1 team next season if Bamba comes and Diallo bypasses on the NBA Draft. If just one of those things occur, Kentucky will have a good argument for No. 1.
In an interview with Scout.com’s Evan Daniels, Knox broke down what made Kentucky stand out about schools like Duke, North Carolina and others.
Kevin Knox:I just told the coaching staff that ever since they offered me, they’ve been texting me and my family so I just think the coaching staff, the way they run in transition, their past history of getting players to the league and that’s one of my goals is to be a top 5 pick, if not the number one pick in the 2018 draft so I know the coaching staff will work really hard to get me to my goal so I think that’s something that really stood out to me about Kentucky.
What ultimately set them over the top?
Just the way they push their players. They have a lot of great players that come in every year and they have a lot coming in this year, I know the practices are going to be really competitive and Coach KP and Coach Cal aren’t going to sugarcoat me at all, they’re going to push me every day, they’re going to get me outside of my comfort zone so I’m really looking forward to it. I really want to be pushed, I don’t want to be sugarcoated so I know the Kentucky coaches are really on their players and will get them better.
Daniels also told SEC Country about what Kentucky is getting in Knox, and why his decision came as such a surprise.
“If they get Bamba, too, and Diallo comes back, you’re looking at a preseason top-3 team — a team that can win it all,” said Daniels, who explained what Kentucky is getting in Knox: “a versatile forward, a guy who can play the three or the four. He sees himself as a straight wing, but he can play inside for them as well. He’s really versatile, really athletic, has really improved his outside shooting and can guard multiple positions. He is one of the really elite players in the Class of 2017.”
“The reason I’m so surprised by Knox’s decision is they already had guys in (Jarred) Vanderbilt and (P.J.) Washington that are similar in position,” Daniels added. “I just didn’t see those three dudes all going to the same place. I guess I should’ve learned my lesson after Eric Bledsoe and John Wall both went to Kentucky.”
Kevin Knox Sr. told MADE Hoops that what Kentucky was offering his son was too much to turn down.
“We really felt that Kentucky was the best collegiate and holistic experience for him as far as his development as a basketball player,” said Knox. “We really feel that Coach John Calipari, his assistant Kenny Payne and the rest of his staff are going to really help him become a man and help him prepare for his goal, which is to be a top five NBA draft pick in the near future.”
Calipari kept a consistent pitch with Knox throughout the time they recruited him.
“His pitch the whole time was, to go there let them make you a better basketball player and prepare you for what is to come at the NBA level’,” he said. “They told him that is what Kentucky does and Coach Calipari has a lot of great examples of that.”
And last but certainly not least, John Calipari was super swaggy after hearing he landed Knox.