The 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby was the major headline in sports on Saturday, but John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats might have stolen the show within the Bluegrass state thanks to a shocking recruiting announcement.
Kentucky men’s basketball added another top-ten prospect to one of its deepest recruiting hauls on Saturday night as five-star Class of 2017 forward Kevin Knox committed to the Wildcats on Twitter. Many believed that Duke or North Carolina was the favorite to land the 6-foot-8 Knox–with the 247 Sports Crystal Ball giving Kentucky only a 4 percent of a chance–but the No. 9 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national Class of 2017 recruiting rankings is a big-time get for the Wildcats.
Knox is the seventh pledge for Kentucky’s class and he’s the fifth five-star prospect–and that doesn’t even include Hamidou Diallo if he decides to opt out of the NBA Draft for his freshman season.
Knox gives the Wildcats a potential perimeter shooter as he could be tasked with defending a lot of perimeter players at Kentucky next season. Put together with players like Jarred Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, and potentially Diallo, and Knox gives the Wildcats a ton of athleticism on the defensive end.
The son of former Florida State star wide receiver Kevin Knox, the younger Knox picked Kentucky over Duke, Florida State, Missouri and North Carolina as head coach John Calipari gets another potential lottery pick to work with next season.
Knox is the type of versatile wing that Kentucky has been looking for in this class and if he’s able to stick perimeter jumpers, it means that the Wildcats can play a bunch of their frontcourt players at the same time while also helping a lot with spacing.
A multiple-time gold-medal winner for USA Basketball, Knox could be perhaps the best pro prospect of this Kentucky class, which is really saying a lot given how much talent they have coming in.
Landing Knox also qualifies as one of the true shockers that we’ve seen from Kentucky in recruiting. Many believed that the battle for Knox was coming down to Duke and North Carolina but the Wildcats were able to sneak in and get the job done by securing a commitment from Knox.
Knox joins a class that includes five-star forwards Jarred Vanderbilt and P.J. Washington, five-star big man Nick Richards, five-star point guard Quade Green and four-star guards Shai Alexander and Jemarl Baker. While it would be nearly impossible to call this John Calipari’s best class ever at Kentucky with how good some previous classes were, this group might be the deepest that Calipari has put together in Lexington, and the program is still in hot pursuit of five-star big man Mohamed Bamba.