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Five Reasons Why Kevin Knox Might Return

Kevin Knox was considered a one-and-done prospect from the moment he stepped on Kentucky’s campus until the horn sounded in the final game of his freshman season. A projected 2018 lottery pick for the past year and beyond, Knox seemed to be UK’s most likely candidate to leave this summer, and that his decision would be a rather easy one.

But that’s not the case, now that it’s time for Knox to make his decision. Knox is struggling to decide between a sophomore season in Lexington and a jump to the league, and there are positives to each side.

The case for the NBA is obvious: make around five million dollars over three years and hope to lock down even more with a second contract, all while living out a lifelong dream. It would be hard to turn that down when it’s at your fingertips, but for Knox, there is a case to be made to put that dream on hold. In the end I think he’ll still jump at the opportunity to be a pro this summer, but these are five reasons why he could return to Kentucky for a second year:


1. He’s still very young.

As John Calipari reminded us many times over the last six months, Kevin Knox is one of the youngest college basketball players in the country. Knox doesn’t turn 19 for another six months, which means he would still only be 18 on draft night. He’s younger than incoming point guard Immanuel Quickley, and only two months older than Keldon Johnson. And get this: he’s younger than UK target Ashton Hagans, who is only a junior in high school right now.

So while many freshman NBA prospects try to jump at the opportunity to go to the league as soon as possible, Knox would only be the age of most of those freshmen if he were to wait and enter the draft as a sophomore.

And with the demands of the NBA lifestyle, it wouldn’t hurt to grow up a little bit more.

2. His family is in no rush.

Unlike many young basketball stars his age, Kevin Knox does not need to earn a paycheck from basketball. It would be nice, yes, but he and his family aren’t in a situation where he needs to provide for them to get by.

Knox’s father, Kevin Knox Sr., told Kyle Tucker over at SEC County, “Kevin comes from a family with, to be honest with you, two educated parents who are not in need. We don’t need for Kevin to go out and buy us a house or buy us a car or something,”

3. He needs a ring.

Knox may not need the money, but he does need a ring. His father won the NCAA national championship in football as a wide receiver at Florida State in 1993, and has always stressed to his son what it takes to become a champion.

Prior to his freshman season at Kentucky last fall, Knox said, “It would be good to get my own ring, I could show it off to him. He’s really pushed me really hard, he has a really great work ethic and he’s really passed it down to me.”

4. He would be a National Player of the Year candidate. 

The stars of college basketball will soon be gone, paving the way for new stars next season. There’s no reason to think Knox wouldn’t be one of the faces of the game if he were to return for a sophomore campaign, and he would make Kentucky an instant contender for the title.

5. He could become a top-five draft pick. (This is the big one.)

Knox will not be a top-five pick this summer. With a star-studded top tier of prospects entering the league in the upcoming draft, Knox, at best, will be lucky to crack the top 10. He could have a great combine and pre-draft process, and still not go higher than 11th.

But next year’s draft is different. With another year of college basketball, in which he could improve in a variety of ways and show some scoring consistency, Knox could climb all the way up to the top five. If he had a spectacular sophomore season, who knows, maybe he could beat out RJ Barrett for the No. 1 overall pick. It’s not impossible. Imagine what he can do with other scorers (like the ones Kentucky will have) around him. He could have a HUGE year.


So, come on back?

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

22 Comments for Five Reasons Why Kevin Knox Might Return

  1. tylerwoods22
    9:37 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

    I officially have my hopes up now.

  2. Matty Arbuckle
    9:39 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

    As a projected lottery pick, he should go. He might get injured or have a terrible year next year. One in the hand, two in the bush.

    • Twick39
      9:48 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

      As far as getting hurt that’s what the insurance is for.

    • gwhittle
      10:51 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

      That’s a great point. We forget sometimes that schools are allowed to give the players insurance policies in case of injury. So with that in mind, the only risk of coming back is it he regresses and loses stock, and I don’t see that happening. Especially not with next year’s draft class

    • Megan
      11:33 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

      Hell, even if he didn’t improve his stock, he’d still hit the lottery. He’d make more in his first two or three years than he would at the same position this year. But waiting a year, he stands to double his earnings.

      So the downside, if that’s what you can call it, is quite limited, and the upside is enormous. I understand bird in the hand, but are the risks that drive that decision rational? Are the probabilities really high enough to decline the opportunity he has before him?

      I don’t see it.

  3. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    9:47 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

    I can’t imagine sending my son off to an NBA lifestyle. Especially being so young. That alone is worth consideration, money can’t buy and/or replace everything.

    • UK Big Board Update
      9:13 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

      LOL. Right…..

    • Megan
      11:35 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

      This is something Cal talks about. NBA means No Boys Allowed. You have to be an adult immediately. You have to say “no” to people. People will try to take advantage of you. It’s not like college. You don’t out for pizza or a movie with your teammates after the game. It’s a man’s league, and you better be ready for it.

      So there’s no LOL about it. It’s an actual consideration. I always felt DeMarcus wasn’t ready. And DeMarcus has since said as much.

  4. Jiminy Crickets
    10:03 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

    Hagans is an 18yo junior??

    • BeejeCat
      10:34 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

      Guessing that’s why he’s so likely to reclassify.

    • BlakeBlueNation
      10:39 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

      He was held back

    • BlakeBlueNation
      10:41 pm April 3, 2018 Permalink

      Still don’t want to get my hopes up. NBA has always been a dream of his and he knows he will learn a lot about the game even if he goes to the g-league. Money isn’t exactly on his mind but I still say he goes. I would LOVE to have him back, don’t get me wrong. We need that amazing wing scorer next year to go along with a more defensive minded Keldon Johnson. If he does stay, I like our shots.

  5. ClutchCargo
    12:08 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

    Hagans probably has a summer birthday, meaning his parents had to decide whether to start him in school with his age group or wait another year. It’s usually best to wait, with boys.

  6. chris43
    6:51 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

    I couldn’t blame him if he goes BUT I think he’ll benefit GREATLY with another year in college. His game will improve tremendously, he’ll mature a bit and most importantly improve his draft stock which will mean more money. Long term coming back to college and taking out an insurance policy is his best option.

  7. Daddyof3Ballers
    7:40 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

    3. Johnson
    Stretch4. Knox
    5. Washington

    Talk about spreading out the floor and letting scorers score and shooters shoot!

    • Robkycats54
      8:39 am April 5, 2018 Permalink

      Decent starting lineup but to small
      PG- SGA
      SF- KNOX


  8. CatManDo
    8:00 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

    6. “Bro, there’s so many baddies in here, bro.”

  9. Kat4Life
    8:02 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

    He is likely gone……but the article does tee up some intriguing scenarios. Do not discount Nick Richards next year…..he could be our X factor if he develops this summer.

  10. MikesWay
    9:54 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

    Damn it, Drew.

  11. rainman
    10:38 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

    One point you failed to mention! If Cal talks him into returning, he will be more likely to feature him in the offense!

  12. makeitstop
    10:47 am April 4, 2018 Permalink

    That’s true rainman, Cal obviously makes good on those commitments as we saw w Hami. Players don’t get better just because they are a year older but Knox seemed to get better as the game slowed down for him at the end of the year. He would benefit from another year technically and financially. And I would bet that if he leaves after next season he would probably be only two or three semesters from graduation, which seems important to his family and him. That probably would push someone else out (Gabriel?) but that’s okay.

  13. ballplayerstu
    6:36 pm April 4, 2018 Permalink

    I bet he returns