For a two-game stretch in which he averaged 19 points, 5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and, most importantly, set consecutive season-lows in turnovers, Brandon Knight was named SEC Freshman of the Week. The press release from the league office also says that Knight has made 19 of his last 20 free throws and helped UK climb back from a one-point deficit against the Hoosiers with five points and five rebounds in the final 10 minutes. What it doesn’t add, though, is that the two games against our neighbors to the west also showcased a player who appears to have taken the next step both as a leader and a player.
Through the season’s first seven games, the highly touted point guard from Florida didn’t look to be confident or comfortable running the point. There were turnovers (almost five per game), there were off shooting nights (4-15, 3-15) and, most frustratingly, Knight never seemed to settle into the lead guard position. But, just as his team appeared to do in the last two games, Brandon Knight also seems to have taken the next step toward being a great player and the leader that this team so desperately needs. We talked about it on the radio the other day prior to the IU game and it was evident against the Hoosiers. The law firm of Jones and Knight have to lead this team together.
Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones are clearly the team’s two best players. They’re also clearly two different personalities. There’s Jones, who plays with his emotions on his sleeve and talks with his teammates on the floor. Then there’s Knight, who seems to be more comfortable doing his talking with his play and, prior to this week, hadn’t shown that he’s willing to get after guys on the court. In two games against Notre Dame and Indiana, Knight finally found comfort in not trying to be something he’s not and seemed to finally settle in as a nice yin to Jones’ yang. It’s a development that won’t show up in the stat sheet, but, for a team who had major questions as to who would lead them throughout the year, it’s as promising as any of the points and assists that earned Knight the Freshman of the Week honors.