Vaught: 1-on-1 with Brandon Knight

Brandon Knight said Thursday that he had known for several weeks he was going to play his college basketball at the University of Kentucky before making his official announcement Wednesday at Pine Crest High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on ESPNU.

Brandon Knight said Thursday that he had known for several weeks he was going to play his college basketball at the University of Kentucky before making his official announcement Wednesday at Pine Crest High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on ESPNU.

"It was fairly recent when I made my mind up about Kentucky. It was sometime in the last couple of weeks that I just knew that was the best place for me," said Knight, who was in New York Thursday preparing for the Jordan Brand Classic in New York's Madison Square Garden.

Knight played in the McDonald's All-American Game in Columbus, Ohio, two weeks ago and hit the game-winning shot. Last week he was in Portland, Ore., for the Nike Hoop Summit. Then it was back home for a few days to make his nationally televised announcement before he headed to New York. "Things have been moving pretty fast," Knight said via telephone from New York Thursday. "Everything has gone by quick, but everything has been really good, too.

"I had been thinking about my college decision for a long time. It was a tough decision, and a close decision because I was looking at all good schools. I just relied on my parents to help me make my decision about where to go and I felt that Kentucky was the best place for me."

Knight, the nation's top-ranked senior by many recruiting analysts, said he watched all the teams on his recruiting list play last season, but that he watched Kentucky often.

"I watched them a lot and tried to get a feel for if I would like the system or fit in and stuff like that," Knight said. "I had to make my decision on where I would fit best.

"I really had a good time when I went on my visit to Kentucky. The basketball team has so much support everywhere, and that is something I really liked. The fans are just unbelievable about basketball."

Knight originally wanted to be an engineering major — he has a 4.3 grade-point average — but he says now he is not set on what he'll study.

"But academics were a big part of my decision, too. Education is very important to my family and I liked what Kentucky had to offer," he said.

He said family and friends in Florida were "happy" with his decision even though one of the teams on his final list was Florida.

"They all support me and actually all seemed very, very happy," he said. "They know what a great place Kentucky is to play basketball."

He's not worried about that changing even though UK could have as few as four returning players off last year's 35-3 team.

"We have got Enes (Kanter) and Stacey (Poole) coming in with me. A lot of great players are still considering UK. We will be fine," Knight said.

He played against Kanter in the Nike Hoop Summit and came away impressed.

"He's pretty good. It's going to be nice to play with him," Knight said.

He's also talked to several players playing in the Jordan Brand Classic — C.J. Leslie, Josh Selby, Doran Lamb, Terrence Jones — about signing with Kentucky. However, he's glad his decision is now public and he can just enjoy the game.

"It's going to be so nice just to relax and play. I get to have a good time and not worry about where I am going to school at. It has not really been stressful because I had a lot of help from my parents, but it's nice to know I can just relax and play for a change," Knight said.

Soon, though, he'll be reporting to Kentucky for summer school and summer workouts. When he does, he says his focus will be on only a few things.

"The most important thing is just to win games and help my teammates get better and get better as a unit really. It's all about winning, and that's why I wanted to play at Kentucky because I know coach Cal will win," Knight said.

* * *

The Jordan Brand Classic will be on ESPN2 starting at 8 p.m. Saturday.


AllWildcats Top Stories