Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

Five-star Kevin Knox Returns From Pivotal N.C. Trip

Five-star forward Kevin Knox took unofficial visits to North Carolina and Duke this past weekend. How were the visits? Where does he stand with his recruitment? What are Kentucky and Florida State's pitches? Knox breaks it all down in a Q&A.

It seems like you quickly turned a page on Saturday - conclude your high school season and you leave straight from that game and go on your final recruiting visits. Has all that hit you yet?
I know that the time period is getting to be crunch time and I’m going to have to start looking at things more; watching the teams more closely and having talks with my family because I know my time is coming.

Are you feeling any pressure with it all?
No, not really. I’m just taking my time and talking to my family and everything. I’m taking steps at a time to get closer to my decision. I don’t feel any pressure. My dad does a really good job of handling some of my recruitment, too.

Walk me through this past weekend, what was your itinerary?
So basically I flew to the North Carolina game and I got there about an hour before the game. I met with the coaches and the players after the game. I went and hung out with some of the recruits, too. Zion (Williamson) was there, so was Jalek (Felton). I talked to Roy Williams after the game and I had a couple of quick meetings with him. Then on Sunday around 1:00 I met with the Duke staff for about an hour and a half. We watched film on Jayson Tatum and some things that he does really well and how he does well in their system. I met with them for an hour and a half before heading to the airport.


What were your thoughts on the game on Saturday? The atmosphere?
It was great. Last year I went to the same game, but it was at Duke. So I was able to see Duke’s atmosphere for the game, so this year it was really good to go to the North Carolina/Duke game because it was crazy. It was loud the whole game. Michael Jordan ended up showing up. It was a great atmosphere all around. It was really intense and a high-level game.

Did you have any takeaways from the actual game play?
North Carolina did a really good job. Joel Berry had a good game, as far as getting up an down the court. North Carolina did really well. Jayson Tatum didn’t have his best game, that’s what Coach K was telling me on Sunday. He’s going to have to start picking it up in the Tournament. He didn’t have an overall good game, but they still played pretty good.

UNC is comparing you to Justin Jackson. Duke is comparing you to Tatum. How do you see that?
That stuff is good. Both Justin and Jayson are really good players. When Hall of Fame coaches are comparing you, you always want to thank God for that. I’m just going to keep working. Justin is a really good player and Jayson is a really good player and there are some things that I’m going to have to do as far as going straight to the school. There’s a role I have to play and I’m going to have to keep working to fill that role.

Your mom accompanied you on the trip …
She had a lot of fun. Of course her dad lives up there so she got to spend some time with him and was able to go visit the campuses. She had a really good time and she was happy.

I know you sat with Jalek Felton … how well do you know him and was he recruiting you?
I first got to know him at the Elite 24. Me and him were on the same team. I got to spend a lot of time with him playing ping pong and 2K at Elite 24. Me and him are pretty close. At the game we were just talking and he was in my ear a little bit, but we were just enjoying the game and having fun.

You said you spent some time after the game with the UNC players …
On my official visit, (Theo Pinson) was my host, so I spent most of my time with him and Joel. I was with them both. Both of them are really good guys. And Tony Bradley and Kennedy Meeks, those are probably the ones that I’ve spent the most time with and just talking to and just texting.

You said you spent some time with Coach K, what was his pitch to you?
Just to be able to do whatever I want, just the freedom Jayson Tatum has to bring the ball up and all of those iso's that he gets. Just being able to do what he does best and make plays. We watched a lot of film on Jayson being able to get the ball, dribble down the court and make plays for himself and others. Coach K’s biggest message was just the freedom that I would have and that I would be able to step in and do what I do best.

What was Roy Williams’s message?
Roy was saying that Justin is probably going to leave this year and I would be able to step into that role and be able to play big minutes and be a big contributor to the team. Coach Williams thinks that he could push me more than any other coach, so I’m going to continue to watch Justin Jackson because he’s really having a great year.

Was this your last round of visits?
I don’t know. I don’t know how far the ACC Tournament is from me or anything like that. My parents have said if they see something they want to go visit, they’ll definitely talk to me. But as of now, nothing is set up.

There’s a perception out there that it’s down to Duke and North Carolina, is that fair or unfair?
That’s not true, (it’s) just because of the UNC official and then I happened to go to the UNC/Duke game so I’ve obviously been to North Carolina quite a few times and my Grandpa lives up there, so that’s why my family has been up there so much. But Kentucky and FSU, I talk to them almost daily. I talked to both of their coaches. They both still want me and I’m still interested in both of those schools.

What has FSU’s pitch been as of late?
They think that Jonathan [Isaac] and Dwayne [Bacon] will both go into the draft. I’ll be able to play big minutes with a lot of good players coming in and staying back, so I’ll be able to start my own legacy because my dad went there and my mom went there. They think I can come in and start my own legacy and help the team.

Then with Kentucky, what has Coach Calipari been talking to you about?
He knows they have a lot of recruits, but I’ve played with a lot of them on the circuit and in these all-star events. We all get along together. They need someone that can shoot the ball in their next class and my jump shot has really gotten better. He saw that and he thinks that I can come in and be that wing player that can come in and knock down shots and just do it all.

What’s left to do before you decide?
I pushed back my decision for me to be able to watch March Madness. I think that’s a big deal for me and I’m going to be able to watch the teams play at a high-level and watch some of the players. That’s why I moved my decision back. I’m going to continue to watch them and see how each team plays.

Will you set up any in-home visits?
There’s none set, but there’s some talk and my parents want to set some up. The coaches want to come back down, of course, if they have a chance with the tournament. If they have a chance we will set up some in-homes. None set right now, but it is something that we are thinking about doing.

Your dad told me that you were looking at the April 10-15 timeframe for a decision, is that still the case?
There’s no really date. I just know that it’ll be around mid-April. That’s what me and my family decided on. There’s not specific date, just mid-April.

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