Every year there seems to be a few late prospects keeping Kentucky fans on the edge of their seats awaiting their college decisions.
Last year, Marques Bolden went down to the wire and chose Duke. The year before, Jaylen Brown announced for California on Derby, and Jamal Murray, a “lock” for Oregon at the time, opted for the Kentucky Wildcats in June.
This year, UK has three targets left to decide late in the recruiting season: Mohamed Bamba, Cameron Johnson, and Kevin Knox.
As we heard yesterday, five-star forward Kevin Knox will announce his decision on Saturday night on Twitter, with a final list of Duke, UNC, Missouri, Florida State, and Kentucky.
— Kevâ€¼ï¸ (@kevin_knox23) May 5, 2017
Duke has been the rumored favorite for quite some time, with both UNC and Missouri receiving buzz in the past few weeks, as well. Florida State has received little to no buzz, as most see the Seminoles on the list only because Knox’s parents attended school there.
As for Kentucky? Things have been absolutely silent for a while now.
In the past several years, nearly all recruitments of top UK targets had some last-minute buzz to throw the scent off and keep fans guessing.
Marques Bolden began following several UK players and students leading up to his announcement but opted for Duke.
Most experts had Julius Randle pegged for Kansas, and Kentucky was seemingly out of the running for his services. He apparently had known he was going to Kentucky for three weeks.
As stated earlier, most UK fans had given up in Jamal Murray’s recruitment, with Oregon considered the heavy favorite up to his announcement on national television. He then unveiled a blue button down and Kentucky gear under a large Canadian flag and became a Wildcat.
Last year, Bam Adebayo was considered a lock for months to stay home and play for Mark Gottfried at NC State. The day before his announcement, rumors leaked that UK may have made a late push, and there was a chance he would end up at Kentucky. The next day, he was a Wildcat.
Many expected Trey Lyles to commit to Kentucky, but news of Lyles being swayed by Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals rolled out the morning of Lyles’ announcement, causing many analysts to switch their predictions. Lyles committed to UK.
With countless examples of announcement surprises in recent memory, who knows what to expect tomorrow night when Knox announces.
Let’s break down the commitment…
Why Knox will commit to Kentucky:
Calipari has been infatuated with Knox for a long time, that is well known. As we know, when Coach Cal desperately wants a guy, it’d be crazy to bet against the best recruiter in America.
Knox sees himself as a primary guard that will be a key shooter/heavy scoring threat on whatever team he chooses. The idea of replacing Justin Jackson at UNC is intriguing, but Knox has repeated over and over again that Calipari is recruiting him as a Malik Monk-type player. With Monk making headlines and highlights of his ridiculous scoring games on repeat all year long, the opportunity to come in and become UK’s primary scorer has to be intriguing.
Knox has always given UK and Calipari glowing praises, and he has a great relationship with the recruits signed to play at Kentucky. With Hamidou Diallo potentially becoming UK’s first none-and-done, Knox can fill the void he potentially leaves, giving fans a sigh of relief for next season.
If Mohamed Bamba follows suit, it’d be hard to imagine any recruiting class ever coming close to this one.
Why Knox commits elsewhere:
The long-time favorite wins out, and Duke gets the top remaining scorer in America. Jabari Parker, Justice Winslow, Jayson Tatum, etc., Knox becomes the next star small forward scorer at Duke.
With Luke Kennard and Tatum out, Knox can come in and fill that immediate scoring need for the Blue Devils en route to another early exit in the NCAA Tournament.
It has been rumored the Knox family favors Duke, and as we saw in the past, family wins out more often than not. Who knows, maybe Mr. and Mrs. Knox are best buds with Marques Bolden’s mom.
If not for Duke or UK, it seems UNC is the most likely destination. Roy Williams has been pitching the idea of replacing Justin Jackson, and if Tony Bradley returns to school, Knox could be the missing piece to another title run.
Teaming up with Michael Porter Jr. at Missouri would be “interesting,” but rumors have spread over the last week or so that the Tigers are out of the running. Should Knox shock the world and team up with the nation’s top point guard, the SEC will become that much stronger next season.
My gut still tells me Knox chooses Duke, but I’m certainly more confident in Kentucky now than I have been in a while.
If UK is out of the running for a recruit, rumors usually start to leak leading up to the announcement that the Wildcats are out.
With zero buzz surrounding Kentucky either way… Makes you wonder.