USA Basketball

Kevin Knox Keeping Eye on UNC

Top 10 prospect sees the potential fit with the Tar Heels.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --- Kevin Knox will be using the coming months to evaluate his four finalists.

“I’m going to sign late,” he said. “Right now I’m aiming for early March, late March, or early April. A lot of people mess with me but that’s just how I want to do it and that’s what me and my family want to do.”

That leaves the 6-foot-8 combo forward at least five months to take official visits and work his way toward a decision.

“Right now I’m down to four – Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and FSU,” he said. “I cut Kansas off the list. But those are the four I’m going to go forward with. I’m going to take my visits. I set my officials and I’m going to take some unofficials during the season and watch some games and go from there.”

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North Carolina targeted Knox early on as a key recruit for the 2017 class because of the projected need for a player of his caliber at his position, and that’s been a major part of their pitch for the Tampa (Fla.) Catholic standout.

“Basically when I go in I’m not going to have anyone at my position because Justin Jackson is probably going to leave after this year, so I can step in and contribute early,” Knox said. “They have a lot of good guys, Joel Berry, Tony Bradley and Kennedy Meeks, they are going to be good this year. I’d be able to step in and contribute early so that’s basically what his message has been to me.”

Knox said he’ll be paying close attention to how Jackson performs this season and how the Tar Heels utilize him.

“I’m going to watch his game closely,” Knox said. “That’s something that I’ll look at.”

“The coaches tell me I can do a little bit more than him, but that we play similar,” he added, referring to his combo forward abilities. “I’m going to keep an eye on him and watch their games and see how they use him.”

The UNC official visit will be the last of the four trips and is scheduled for the first weekend of February. Knox said that was the best fit for his schedule and UNC’s.

“I looked at my baskeball schedule and looked at their schedule,” he said. “A lot of my visits are late and that’s because of my season schedule. That’s the best I could do. February, that’s kind of late for everybody. Lot of people want to commit now, but February is pretty late, but I’m going to take my time and take my visits and go from there.”

A week and a half ago, Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton conducted an in-home visit with Knox. He’s scheduled to visit the Seminoles the weekend of Jan. 7.

“It was good,” Knox said. “He just came in to check on me. He was in town looking at some other players and he came down by to see me. It was good. He came down, ordered pizza and we watched the NFL Thursday night football game. It was laid back and chill.”

Although Knox won’t visit Kentucky officially until Jan. 28, he is taking an unofficial visit for the Big Blue Madness festivities this coming weekend.

“Coach Cal is funny,” he added. “He’s a funny guy. Coach [Kenny Payne], they all love (me). I’m going to go up there and take a visit with some of the other players there and I’m going to have a lot of fun. Get some shots up, watch practice and talk to some of the players. Basically just have some fun.”

While UNC, FSU and Kentucky’s official visits fall after the initial signing period, Duke scheduled their visit with Knox for the weekend of Oct. 29.

“My dad asked them if they wanted us to be visit first or last and they said they wanted to visit first,” Knox said. “That has nothing to do with me signing early or anything. That was the time that I could go before the season and go watch a good game. That will be a good official.”

Knox used the USA Basketball U16 trials in June of 2015 to build a reputation, become a starter for the team and eventually win a gold medal.

This weekend he is back in Colorado Springs for the Junior National Mini-Camp as one of the older, more seasoned players in attendance and he’s trying to pass on what he’s learned over the years to the 2019 and 2020 prospects in attendance.

“I came here two years ago for the U16 and I was one of the youngest guys here and I still am one of the youngest guys here,” Knox said. “It feels good to be a veteran here. I have two gold medals and to just teach the young kids the process because they are going to be here for a while. There are a lot of kids that are 2020 that could maybe win two gold medals so I’m just passing on the process and getting better.”

Knox, is also using the setting to work on different aspects of his game.

“Right now I’m just getting more consistent with my jump shot and ball handling in pick and roll situations,” Knox said. “Getting a better feel for the game.”

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