Knox: 'It's a Great Feeling'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Justin Knox was at the Smith Center this weekend as an assistant coach for Team Alabama and talked about his decision to transfer to UNC ...

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Are you looking at this weekend as a dry run for coming here?
"Yes, I was just coming back to touch base with all of the coaches. I actually have to sign my financial aid form saying that I'm coming here for the fall, so I'm just coming back and kicking it with a couple of the players and watching my AAU team get a couple of wins."

Can you tell us when and why you decided to transfer from Alabama?
"Basically I just wanted to pursue a better opportunity for my future because I want to play professionally. That's basically the main reason. This opportunity showed and I took it, so I'm glad I'm able to come here."

How did the interest in Carolina come about?
"They called my uncle one day and told him that they had interest in me, and it just went from there. I [came up] here for an official visit and I enjoyed everything about this campus, the coaching staff and the team, so I'm happy to be up here."

Did you know anything about Carolina prior to them showing interest?
"Everybody knows everything about Carolina. It's rich in tradition and basketball history. It's been all over the T.V. for many years, so nobody can not know anything about North Carolina."

Did you watch North Carolina much growing up in Alabama?
"I remember watching when Antawn [Jamison] played, and Vince [Carter]. There have just been a lot of good players to come through here and I'm pretty proud to be a part of that now and to play on the same court that some of those players played on. I'm just ready to start."

Has it sunk yet being in this building that you're going to be playing on this court?
"Not yet. I guess it will sink in when the first game comes around and I get to see how those fans crank it up. I'm really excited about that."

Was there a realization for you about the big-time college atmosphere that you're going to be coming into with reporters jumping on you when you walk in?
"Yeah, I know… But I really haven't experienced that yet because Alabama is a football school. This is obviously a basketball school, so I'm going to have to get used to it coming in."

How does it feel to go to a place where basketball is king?
"It puts a good feeling in your soul knowing that everybody appreciates you. The gym is going to be packed out every game no matter who we play, so it's a great feeling, actually."

What teammates have you met so far and what have they said to you as far as what to expect?
"I've met everybody, actually. On my official visit, we played a little pickup and everybody had good things to say about the way that I played and they're real excited about me coming and being an addition to their team. I'm just excited to start with them in the offseason and get in the flow of the team and get the chemistry so that we can do some big things next year."

What was the deciding factor between Carolina and Georgia Tech?
"It was a pretty difficult pick. But at the end of the day, it came down to what the better opportunity for me was in the future. You can't really go against a hall of fame coach in Roy Williams, so I really wanted to learn under him. Hopefully he can teach me a couple of things and get me over the hump to get to the league."

What classes do you have left to take?
"I have 12 hours left and they're basically the last couple of business courses. I'm a business major, so it's like basically writing courses and a finance course. It's going to be difficult, but I'm going to get on the ball and get it done."

What did Coach Williams say in explaining what your role will be for this team next year?
"Just to come in and bring experience to the table and my length and height. Help on the boards and bring a scoring threat for the team."

How did Alabama take the news?
"Not too well, I guess. At the end of the day, everybody understood just because it's my future and it's my decision, so they just had to deal with it, I guess."

Will you be able to use part of this weekend to hang out with the guys?
"Yes, more than likely, after a couple of our games today, I'll be able to kick it with a couple of the players and talk with a couple of coaches and just get to know them a little better."

When do you anticipate arriving in Chapel Hill for the fall semester?
"More than likely after I graduate in August, so like the few couple of weeks of August is when I'll be here."

For those of us who haven't seen you play, can you describe your style of play and how you think you will help this team?
"I'll bring post play that's pretty dynamic for our team. I've got the ability to bring my man out to the 15-foot-line because I can shoot out at that range, and I bring aggression to the paint and I can play good defense. All of that will go with what Coach Williams will teach me, so I'm going to be a plus for the team next year. I'm just ready to play."

Everybody knows Coach Williams likes to run. Do you like to run?
"Yes. The team I just transferred from, Coach [Anthony] Grant's style is basically running, so I guess I'm used to it. I'll be ready for it."

Why do you think they wanted to recruit you for next year?
"I think it was because of my experience. I have a bigger presence in the post, someone that can poised throughout the game, get rebounds and score."

Did Coach Williams say what he needed from you?
"Just basically experience and a big post player."

This process happened so quickly. Would you have thought a month ago that you would be standing right here?
"Not really. I honestly didn't. I'm taking everything in right now and enjoying everything. I'm just ready for this summer to get over with so that I can graduate and come up here and get to work."

Is it almost shocking that your career took this type of turn?
"Everything happens for a reason. I'm just happy it turned out this way. I'm just ready to get to work and do my thing for the team."

You have family in Alabama. Was it difficult to make the decision to come here knowing you would be away from home?
"It was, but it goes back to the fact that I'm only going to be here for a year or a couple of months. It won't be that long. I can still go back on breaks, so the transition won't be that difficult."

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