VAUGHT: Early Look at Brandon Knight

He knows he'll be compared to John Wall, Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose, all former John Calipari point guards who became first-round NBA draft picks.

Rather than feel pressured by those comparisons, however, Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight takes it as a compliment.

"It is nice just to be in the same category with those players. It doesn't matter how people are using my name, but just to mention me with those guys that are great NBA stars kind of makes me smile a little bit," Knight said.

"I know John, but he's not told me a lot. He was the one that told me this is the place to be when I was being recruited. As I continued to explore Kentucky and find out more about coach Cal and the program and tradition and the fans and social life and what I could expect from Kentucky, I chose Kentucky and found out what he was telling me was right."

Kentucky coach John Calipari doesn't want to compare Knight to his former stars.

"He's not as big as John. He's not as fast as Derek. He's not as strong as Tyreke. He is who he is. Everyone of those guys is different, and he will be, too," Calipari said.

The UK coach says Knight's work ethic is on par with great players he's had in the past — and his current teammates quickly learned that. "If you are on the team with him, at times it will tick you off. ‘It's early in the morning, I am sleeping. Who is he trying to impress in the gym? He is kissing the coach's ass.' That is natural," Calipari said.

The coach said he knew players were thinking that until the Wildcats went to Canada for three exhibition games and Knight averaged 24.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game.

"DeAndre (Liggins) said after one of the games that he is getting me to work more. That is why I brought him here," Calipari said.

"The great thing about it is that he was scared to death, nervous as heck (in Canada). That was like a John Wall and all these kids. What he did up there gave us an indication of how we are going to have to play and what we are going to have to do.

"I have had kids have anxiety like he has. Tyreke, Derek, John Wall had it. What those kids do is go in the gym because they are so scared and have so much anxiety that they are not as good as everybody says that they take it out in there. He is exactly the same." Calipari knew Knight was good before his play in Canada. However, he still learned things about his point guard, who was the national Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior and senior at Pine Crest High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"He is fast. There are thing he has to add to his game. He delivers the ball better than guys I have had. Twenty-five assists and four turnovers was ridiculous," Calipari said. "That is not supposed to be. It is usually 3-to-1, not 5-to-1, 6-to-1.

"The one thing I was able to get with Brandon is the kid is a warrior. He has fire in his belly. If you don't have fire in the belly with me, you are not playing.

"Either develop or understand it, or it is hard for me to play you because we are going to be an attacking offense and defense."

AllWildcats Top Stories