Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

Top 10 Recruit Kevin Knox Makes Return Trip to UNC

Less than a month after his first visit, Kevin Knox was back in Chapel Hill.

Kevin Knox experienced North Carolina and Duke last month.

Over the course of a weekend stay in the area, Knox, a top-10 prospect in the class of 2017, took in Duke’s buzzer-beating win over Virginia and UNC’s rout of Pittsburgh.

Less than a month later, the Tampa (Fla.) Catholic and his father made another road trip to N.C.

This past weekend, the 6-8 forward returned to watch the bitter rivals go head-to-head at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Before that, however, he and his family spent time on the Carolina campus with Roy Williams and assistant coach Steve Robinson. Inside Carolina spoke with Knox’s father, Kevin Knox Sr., about the visits, his son’s recruitment and what’s next.

You spent a few hours at North Carolina on Friday before heading to Duke. What was on the itinerary?

We had already met with academic advisors and done the basketball walk around tour last time, so we really wanted to talk with Coach Robinson and Coach Williams and take Kevin to the dorms basketball players stay in. So, we took him to Justin Jackson’s dorm room and his roommates (Kenny Williams and Luke Maye) and they were pretty nice. They are right across the street from the Smith Center.

After that we had a one-on-one session with their strength coach Jonas Sahratian. We’re really into lifting weights and working out, so we were able to spend some time talking with Jonas. After that we were able to get an hour workout in, in the Smith Center. We just got up shots and got in some drills to get a feel for how it is to shoot in there. We met with Coach Williams for about 20 minutes at the beginning of the visit, and then came back and met with him again for another 30 minutes. We arrived there at around 10:45 a.m. and left at 2 p.m.

What was Williams’s message to your family and Kevin during those meetings?

They’re very interested in Kevin and they basically just were saying what his skillset is and the type of player that he is. They reiterate quite a bit how interested they are. I speak with all the coaches around the country who are interested in Kevin and they all are trying to get to know us as a family and Kevin as a person. We’re going to sign with a team that we feel comfortable with, a part of that is trust. The only way you can trust someone is to spend time with them.

Why did your family decide to take another trip up to North Carolina to see both Duke and UNC?

It worked with Kevin’s schedule, because of the success his high school team had allowed us to come up these two times. And it just so happened to work out in February where they were both at home and then a few weeks later when they were playing each other.

Where are you in Kevin’s recruitment?

We’re in the beginning stages of the process. We’re still wide open. I asked Kevin that personally recently. I said ‘do you want to narrow things down?’ He said ‘no.’ He wants to narrow it down at the end of the EYBL season. Meanwhile, we’re just getting to know the coaches.

When Kevin chooses his college to go to, it will be similar to the way I chose mine – whoever he has the best relationship with. I had a great relationship with Bobby Bowden and that’s who my parents felt comfortable giving their son to. It’s going to be the same thing with Kevin. It’s all about the relationship with the head coach. If it’s Leonard Hamilton, he’ll go to Florida State. If it’s Coach Roy, he’ll go to Carolina. If it’s Jim Larranaga, he’ll go to Miami. If it’s Coach K, he’ll go to Duke. If it’s any school that’s interested in him, it’ll be whoever he feels comfortable with – that’s who he’s going to sign with.

What is your relationship like with Roy Williams?

Coach Williams, he reminds me a lot of Coach Bobby Bowden, who was my football coach at Florida State. He’s very personable and kind of just like your granddad. He’s the kind of guy who cares for you and is just a fun, jovial person to be around. Obviously his basketball experience and resume speak for themselves, having been with arguably one of the greatest college coaches of all time in Dean Smith, and then his success at Kansas and then coming back and leading UNC to all of its success. He’s just a great person and a great coach. We spoke a lot and we’ve enjoyed getting to know him as he gets to know the Knox family.

What was it like to see a huge rivalry like Duke-UNC in Cameron Indoor Stadium?

It was definitely a wild and crazy atmosphere. The two stadiums of the schools are so different. When we went to the UNC-Pittsburgh game you walk in and it’s like ‘wow, 21,000 people’ versus Cameron Indoor, where it’s more of a smaller and intimate type of stadium. The game itself reminded me of old Florida-Florida State games for football, that’s the rivalry game in Florida. It was loud and crazy and good to be a part of it. I guess some people say that’s like a bucket list thing to go to that game sitting courtside. And I’m like ‘wow, we were able to experience it.’ It was great.

Kevin is a great basketball player, but why do you think he’s getting this level of heavy attention from almost every major program in the country?

Just in speaking to both head coaches this weekend; they made some profound statements about Kevin. They said that they don’t often see kids with Kevin’s talent level at that age. They said you don’t see kids who can jump as high as he jumps, run as fast as he can run and play with the motor he has, while dribbling the way he does, shooting the way he does and attacking the basket the way he does. They said they don’t see kids who can do all that, while being 16, at 6-8 ½. They don’t see too many players like that, they said.

I asked Roy Williams who is the basketball player that you have right now that reminds you of Kevin and he was really at a loss for words. While we were there, we were able to watch some film. Danny Green was a great player at North Carolina. We saw some clips of Justin Jackson and a few of Vince Carter, Harrison Barnes and Marvin Williams. Coach Roy said that Kevin gave him a Harrison Barnes-Marvin Williams-Danny Green-Justin Jackson feel.

Coach K said the names that came to mind for him were Grant Hill, Jabari Parker and Brandon Ingram. Those are the guys they mentioned and it’s basically their way of saying ‘you’re really, really special.’ When that stuff is coming from those types of coaches, you put stock in that. I told Kevin ‘now it’s time to go prove to people that you are worthy of those comments.’ We got back home this morning (Sunday) and I told Kevin to rest up. Then, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. (Sunday night) we got in 1,000 makes. Kevin really likes working and he likes to shoot the ball.


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