When Kenny Payne talks about a player, I listen. Kentucky’s associate head coach doesn’t do a lot of interviews, but he did speak to the New York Post about Kevin Knox, whom the Knicks drafted ninth last week. John Calipari likes to compare Knox to Jayson Tatum, but Payne has a different comparison in mind: Kevin Durant. The first day Knox was in Lexington, Payne gave him a DVD of Durant clips to study every night before bed.
“That’s the person he wants to emulate,” Payne told The Post. “So here’s what Durant does, and here is your package. Not that he’s Kevin Durant, but he can be in that vein. I told him this should be your staple of what you’re trying to get to. There may never be another Kevin Durant, but I told him there are things he does that are similar to you to take and learn from him. Because he’s ultra-talented and a ball of clay waiting for somebody to form him.
“This is a unique situation for the Knicks. You’re literally being handed a ball of clay that is so talented, and you can mold that clay into whatever you want it to be.”
Payne praised Knox’s length, which he says can set him apart from other young stars in the league, but, like Calipari, emphasized just how young the Tampa native is.
“He’s really young and not in a bad way,” Payne said. “He’s been sheltered, secluded with his family. They protected their kids. I’m not saying he’s a saint, but this kid has been protected.
“His idea of fun is video games, playing basketball and beating up on his little brother and sister. It’s not like most guys I recruit.’’
Thankfully, the bright lights at Kentucky prepared him for the Big Apple. For more quotes on Knox from Payne, click the link below.