The recruitment of Kevin Knox was packaged and wrapped up in a nice bow ready to be delivered to Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils.
But on Derby Day in 2017, Knox shocked the recruiting world by turning down Duke and picking the Kentucky Wildcats via Twitter.
The versatile 6’9 forward elicited a big reaction from John Calipari:
How did John Calipari celebrate Kevin Knox committing to Kentucky?pic.twitter.com/2dVytAZFA0— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) May 7, 2017
Knox gave Kentucky the marquee recruit and elite scorer that the 2017 class was missing at that time. Big Blue Nation was understandably excited because of the caliber of player Knox was, as well as the fact that Cal won a battle against K for an elite player.
While there were ups and downs throughout the season for Knox, there’s no debating his importance. Without Knox, there was a real chance that Kentucky would have been an NIT team and that Duke could have made it to the Final Four.
Knox averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. His most notable game came at West Virginia where he lit up the Mountaineers for 38 points in a massive comeback win in Morgantown.
His trademarks were his baseline jumper and his midrange floater. He was able to score in a myriad of ways but the one thing that Kentucky fans and John Calipari wanted to see more from him was his post play. His size and athleticism were matchup problems for most of the players that guarded him but his postgame was rarely utilized.
In all of the NBA Draft projections, Knox is a consensus lottery pick, so the decision for him to go pro is understandable. His draft stock is not guaranteed to go up after another year in college (see Terrence Jones, the Harrison Twins, etc...), so striking while the iron is hot is the right move.
With all of that, thank you Kevin Knox for your time at Kentucky. And thank you for spurning Duke.