USA Basketball

Major UNC Target Kevin Knox Aiming to Cut Down List

Elite prospect aims to visit UNC again.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Kevin Knox is in Colorado Springs for the USA U17 tryouts. The No. 6 ranked player in the country talks about his USA experience, his stellar play in the high school and AAU season’s, and UNC’s recruitment.

Who are some of the players that have impressed you during tryouts that you might not have known a lot about beforehand?
Jaren Jackson, he’s a good shot blocker. Carte’Are (Gordon) almost played on the team last year. He’s a big dude. I had to guard him a few times and that was a rude awakening. He really knows how to use his body. Other guys? Colin Sexton came in and he did really well. He’s done a lot of scoring in EYBL, but he’s done a lot of point guard passing and playing really well out here.

For the U17 games, Jarred Vanderbilt is going to be out. He mentioned that you could potentially take his place as a defensive stopper?
I mean Jarred was a really good defender, so I think other people will need to step up and play defense. If I’m lucky enough to make the team hopefully I can step up into that role. I can guard anywhere from 1-5, so wherever the coach wants me to defend, I’ll defend it.

What was your mindset coming into the U16 tryouts as one of the last invites and how has it changed for the U17 tryouts?
Last year they had me play a certain position and coach told me I could play any position, but there was a position that was going to help me make the team, so I didn’t complain, I just went out and did it. This year, they told me to improve my ball-handling and my jump shot, and they wanted me more at the wing, so the transition I’m working with is on each and every part of my game.

Speaking of the transition, I know you primarily played on the wing in high school, but what type of work did you put in for this transition to occur?
Everyday I’ve just worked out. Work on my ball-handling getting it more on a string and my jump shot. You can’t go wrong shooting more jump shots. The more you shoot, the better it is during a game shooting, so I just pretty much worked on it every day.

Looking back on your junior season, how do you think it went?
Junior year went well, averaged 30 and 12, so those are really good numbers. I led my team to the final four, unfortunately we came up a bit short, but it was an overall great season. We went 26-5, I think, so we did really, really well and have a lot of returning players and hoping to win a state championship next season.

You had a lot of success in the spring EYBL. How was it for you taking on more of a leadership role with Each 1 Teach 1?
I knew last year I was more of a role player cause I had Jonathan Isaac, Tony Bradley, Maverick Rowan, all those dudes around me, so I was the energy guy that rebounded and dunked, so I made the transition and coach told me I’m the dude this year. He put me on the wing and said that the more the way I play will affect other players. If I play good, they’ll play good, so the team is on my back this year. The team is at Peach Jam this year, so we did pretty good. Now I’m looking to go there and try to win it.

You aren’t playing football any more, but I read you are still working out with the football players?
Ever since I gave up football doesn’t mean I don’t go in the weight room. Football players are really good at lifting weights, so I usually go in there, lift with the football team and put up shots after. I usually work out by myself and my trainers. I usually work out every day and I’m usually getting better everyday so that’s my goal.

What type of workouts are you doing?
More upper body and lower body. Just getting my upper body strength ready for the next level in college. You have some dudes there for four years and they’ve been lifting weights so you need to go in there strong and with a strong mentality.

Did you practice with any of the teams you visited last year?
No, I know a lot of players play with the players, but I just watched the practices, talked to the coaches, soaked everything in, a lot of good points they gave to the wings, so that’s what I did.

What types of things were you looking for or paying attention to when watching the practices or games?
I was just looking at how the coach coaches, how players react to the coaches, the little things you pay attention to and listening to all the tips the coaches were saying. I sat right behind the bench, so I got to listen to everything the coaches said, so it was pretty good.

You made several trips to both UNC and Duke. Were there any players in particular you were watching during those games?
I was looking more at the wings. UNC had players that played on the wing and down low. Duke had Brandon Ingram, who played down low and on the wing, so I was basically just watching those guys and seeing how they interacted during the game.

UNC likes to push the tempo, has that been one of the selling points from the coaching staff?
Oh yeah, I like to play fast break, transition. A lot of schools tell me they like to run the fast break, but UNC really does have a lot of fast break points, so that’s something Coach Roy has gotten in my head.

How much does a school’s recent one-and-done track record factor into your college decision?
I mean, one of my goals is to be one and done. I’m not really looking at how many one and done’s they’ve had. That’s really something I want to do, but if the school doesn’t have one and done’s and I really like their coaching staff then that’s what it’s going to come down to and how they communicate with my family.

You mentioned Tony Bradley from being a former teammate on Each 1 Teach 1. Do you have a relationship with E1T1 alum and UNC point guard Joel Berry?
I went on my visit and I hung out with Joel a lot. We each played with Each 1 Teach 1, so we’re basically family. I know Tony is up there so I want to go up and see him some time soon. That’s pretty fun to have them up there and they try to put a lot in my head.

What are your next steps for schools?
I’m going to cut my list after Peach Jam and take some visits. See what the coaches got to say. Right now I have about 35 offers, so it will be good to cut it down. Less stress and can focus more on school work and other things.

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