John Calipari has long had a reputation for keeping it real with his players. In the most recent episode of “The Sidelines with Evan Daniels” podcast, Kevin Knox said Cal’s no-nonsense approach is what attracted him to Kentucky and helped him mature into a projected top 15 pick despite being one of the youngest players in the draft.
“He’s just 100 percent on everything, he’s going to tell you the truth at all times,” Knox told Daniels. “Growing up, I was in a military family, my dad was really hard on me, and that’s kind of what I want in college, and Cal, he’s on you 24/7. He’s going to push you outside your comfort zone. He’s going to keep it real with you at all times. If you’re playing bad he’s going to tell you, he’s not going to sugarcoat nothing. That’s kind of what I wanted. I wanted to be pushed, I want to be great, so — Cal, he’s one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history. I mean he’s put a lot of great guys in the NBA, so I mean I just felt like he could be able to develop me as a person and as a player to be able to get ready for the next level.”
What makes Kentucky different than other top programs? Knox said playing in the sport’s biggest fishbowl is the best way to prepare for the NBA.
“Playing on that big stage, being able to play in front of 24,000 every night, playing on national TV in front of millions of people, it just kind of gets you ready for the next level. And then Cal just taught me how to be able to fight for a whole game, fight during the game. That was kind of tough for me at first, being able to match the intensity that Cal coaches with, being able to fight the way that he wants you to fight. It was rough for us freshmen early on in the season, it was rough for me as well, but as the season went on we just got better and better. We learned how to play together. I learned how to play with my teammates, play under pressure, be able to play with a coaching style, so throughout the season I just got better as a person and player.”
Can someone send this to Reid Travis, please?
Knox, always a thoughtful talker, also discusses his favorite moment at Kentucky and former teammate and fellow projected lottery pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Check it out on iTunes, or via the media player below: