When California head basketball coach Cuonzo Martin called 2017 shooting guard Trevin Knell to offer him on Wednesday, the two started the conversation off with talk of hard work. Knell was watching the Olympics on television, marveling at Michael Phelps's 20th gold medal, and the work it took to get to that point.
Knell is no stranger to the grind. Every single day, since seventh grade, he's put up at least 500 three-point shots per day. When he graduates high school, the 6-foot-5 Knell plans on heading on his Mormon mission for two years. It's going to be hard to find a way to squeeze in those 500 shots, but he plans on making it work.
"I've definitely thought about it," Knell said. "Once I get my mission call, and figure out where I'm going, then I can really start to see and contact people close to my area, to get gyms and facilities for me to be able to shoot, so I'll be waking up early -- really early -- every day, and just getting my shots in every day."
When Martin and Knell spoke about the fact that Knell would be delaying his enrollment to whichever school he chooses, Martin wasn't fazed. He wants the elite shooter whenever he can get him.
"Technically, I'm a 2019 kid, so he really liked the idea of me being older, more mature, and my ability to shoot the ball," Knell said. "Then, I can have another four years to grow on that in the Pac-12."
In one game during this year's AAU cycle -- on April 24, against the Louisville Magic -- Knell hit 8-of-10 three-point shots.
Over the final two tournaments of the 2016 summer AAU season, Knell was a terror from beyond the three-point arc.
In the adidas Gauntlet Series Finale in South Carolina July 7-9, Knell was 13th in the entire tournament with an 18.5 ppg average, shooting 46.2% from beyond the arc (18-for-39).
At the adidas Gauntlet Summer Championships at the end of July, Knell was seventh in the tournament, with a 21.5 ppg average, shooting 48.6% from three-point range (18-of-37) in four games, and 47.3% from the field.
"Even in eighth grade, everyone defined me as 'The Shooter,' and it was kind of my thing, so I just kept practicing and practicing, the 500 shots a day -- 500 to 1,000 -- and got more confidence," said Knell, who shot 55% from the field during his high school season. "It really showed this summer."
The shooting barrage Knell put on impressed Martin, and what the Bears have to offer certainly impresses Knell, who has offers from Montana, Rice, Robert Morris, San Diego, Santa Clara, Southern Utah, Utah State, Utah Valley, Weber State and Wyoming. At the end of the day, it may be very difficult to say no to the Bears, especially after he visits on Aug. 28, for the Bears' elite prospect camp.
"Personally, it'll be really hard, just because of the education," said Knell. "I'm a 4.0 student since seventh grade -- I've gotten nothing but A's -- so that's really big to me. I want to be able to support a family when I'm older, and I feel like Cal-Berkeley is definitely a place where I can do that. It's going to be hard [to say no], and I have a lot of relationships with coaches, so I'll be taking an unofficial at the end of August, for their elite camp. I'll sit down and talk about it with coach Martin and coach [Wyking] Jones and the coaching staff, and get a better grip on everything, and then decide from there."
Knell took Advanced Placement Psychology as a junior, and will take AP English and Honors Math as a senior.
BYU and Utah are "still pretty interested," with the Utes showing more favor than the Cougars. Utah is "definitely up there" for Knell, who will also meet with that staff in two weeks.
For Knell, though, the rule that LDS prospects will tend to stay in Utah isn't a hard line, at all. He knows he can be sent anywhere in the world for his mission, so heading out of state for school is anything but a scary proposition.
"There's the stereotype that Utah kids want to stay in Utah, and personally, for me, I'm totally OK with going out of state," he said. "I want to embark on my own journey, and start that without having my parents knocking on the door 24/7 or only being 30 minutes away. It's definitely not going to be a factor for me."