COLORADO SPRINGS -- One of the marquee players for the USA Basketball U17 team this week is five-star Class of 2017 wing Kevin Knox.
Five Star Target Kevin Knox Showing Out At USA Camp
After making the U16 last summer and helping USA to a gold medal in FIBA Americas, now Knox is expected to be one of the leaders of the team after being the last player invited to camp a year ago.
"It's really great. The coaches are really great. I'm learning a lot of unique things. I'm starting to get more comfortable with the players and the playing style of USA Basketball, so it's been good," Knox said.
"Last year, I came in as the last player invited, so I came in with a chip on my shoulder with the right mentality. Obviously I won a gold medal last year, so this year, I have the mentality of being a leader and showing the new guys plays and how things are done."
Knox is coming off of a monster spring in which he showed he was ready for the national spotlight by averaging 19.6 points per game while helping lead Each 1 Teach 1 to a spot on Peach Jam. Now that he's a marked man as a five-star prospect, Knox has been trying to adjust to seeing defenses that are geared towards slowing him down.
"I think I'm playing really well right now. I'm averaging around 20 points per game in the EYBL and I led my team to Peach Jam and I have a good feeling about Peach Jam," Knox said.
"[Being a go-to guy] is something I'm working on. Last year, people said I was more of an energy guy. Now they're talking about how I'm playing on the wing more and more and I just need to be more consistent with my ball handling. It's good to hear that my hard work is paying off."
The USA Basketball experience has been helpful to Knox as a player because the team's coaching staff is putting Knox in different positions on the floor. With the USA team needing versatile pieces who can do a bit of everything, Knox is playing multiple spots.
"This camp, all our coaches want to put us outside of our comfort zone. So they've been putting me in different positions and seeing how I would react. Overall, I think I'm handling it pretty good," Knox said. "That's something the coaches told me before: I'm going to play multiple positions. I'm going to play the 3/4 and maybe the 2. I can handle the ball on the wing, I can go down low. I'll do whatever the coaches ask of me."
In terms of recruiting, Knox said that he's waiting to take any visits until after July as he tries to get through the next few weeks of basketball commitments. After the U17 World Championships in Spain, Knox will hit the July live evaluation period and play that out before going further with his recruitment.
"I mean, everybody is recruiting me hard. I'm wide open, I really don't have any favorites," Knox said. "Some of the schools that have been staying in touch are Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida State, Miami, Villanova, Kansas. Those are some of the schools that have been texting me almost every day."
Duke still holds a major appeal for Knox at this point in his recruitment because the amount of recent five-star wings that have successfully gone through the program. Blue Devil coaches are often stressing to Knox that he can be in a similar spot as some previous Duke greats if he decides to play in Durham.
"Just being able to play pretty much 1 through 5," Knox said of Duke's pitch. "Brandon Ingram played pretty much down low and he played on the wing, so that was pretty much their message to me. They have a lot of dudes that play that positionless type of player. So that's something that they've said to me. They would use me anywhere on the court and Coach K said he'd use me really well."
After his strong spring in the Nike EYBL, Knox is now considered the No. 6 overall prospect in Scout.com's Class of 2017 national rankings. With an opportunity to play for another gold medal and also play in Peach Jam, Knox will be a player who could push his way into the top five by the end of the summer if he plays well on the biggest stages.
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