Thursday, July 19, 2018
Sports

Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft

Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

And Tampa Catholic High School small forward Kevin Knox may be among the top prospects.

Knox, a five-star recruit, committed to coach John Calipari's Kentucky program in May ahead of schools including Duke and defending national champion North Carolina. Knox was rated by 247 sports as the No. 9 recruit and the No. 2 small forward prospect in the nation.

Likened to Kings small forward Rudy Gay and Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood, Knox has been praised for his versatile range of skills in a 6-foot-9 frame with a 6-11 wingspan.

RELATED: NBA or bust: Kevin Knox's lifelong push for the pros

Mock drafts have consistently placed Knox in the first round, with CBS Sports's Reid Forgrave projecting Knox to go seventh overall to the Philadelphia 76ers. Other analysts, including Yahoo Sports's Rob Dauster, have also placed Knox in the first round. However, Draft Express appears less optimistic about Knox's professional aspirations, leaving him out of their two-round mock draft entirely.

Under Calipari, Kentucky has become known for producing some of the top selections in the draft. First overall picks point guard John Wall, power forward Anthony Davis and center Karl-Anthony Towns all played for the Wildcats under Calipari before being selected, while in 2017 point guard De'Aaron Fox, shooting guard Malik Monk and center Bam Adebayo were all lottery selections.

RELATED: Tampa Catholic's Kevin Knox ends suspense, commits to Kentucky

Knox looks likely to become a member of the latest crop of "one-and-done" NBA draft prospects, who appear in college for the minimum one year before entering the draft. In 2017, each of the top seven selections were "one-and-done" players, and with the highest-selected exception being French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who played professionally in Europe, none of the top eleven picks played more than one year in college.

Calipari's program has been noted in particular for its recruiting of one-year players, with each of Wall, Davis, Towns, Fox, Monk and Adebayo, as well as other prominent players such as Suns shooting guard Devin Booker and Pelicans center Demarcus Cousins leaving for the NBA after a single year. The rule requiring players to be one year removed from high school before playing in the NBA has been a controversial one, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver claiming the system was "not working" before the first game of this year's NBA Finals.

Even for a "one-and-done" prospect, however, Knox will be young when he is drafted. Born on August 11, 1999, he will be among the youngest players selected in 2018 if he declares. Although the average age of a 2017 first-rounder was a record-low 20 years and 76 days, no first-round selection was older than Knox will be when the 2018 draft comes around, and only one draftee at all is less than a year younger than Knox. That player is Pacers second-round pick center Ike Inigbogu, who was born on October 22, 1998.

Knox will have an instant opportunity to impress NBA scouts while at Kentucky, with the Wildcats replacing four starters from last year. As well as Fox, Monk and Adebayo, forward Derek Willis graduated after the 2017 season, opening up a wing spot that Knox looks set to fit into. However, as has been the norm under Calipari, Knox arrives in Lexington as part of a recruiting class loaded with other top prospects. Including Knox, the 2017 class contains six five-star recruits, one of which is small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who is rated one spot below Knox as the third-best small forward in the country. However, both Calipari and Knox's father, former Florida State and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Kevin Knox Sr, have suggested that Knox, with a refined outside game, may also see significant time at shooting guard for the Wildcats.

In April, Knox Sr. told the Times that Knox had received a $1.4-million offer to play professionally in China instead of attending college, which he turned down. During this year's draft, Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Terrance Ferguson made history by becoming the first American player selected after spending his first year out of high school playing professionally abroad instead of attending college.

Comments
Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

Quarterback rankings: The best seasons in Buccaneers history

It was Dec. 20, 1981, the final Sunday of the NFL regular season, and the NFC Central title was on the line. The Buccaneers were in Detroit, where the Lions hadn’t lost all season.The Lions, who were favored by a touchdown, took a 7-3 lead in t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Judge grants ex-girlfriend’s restraining order against ex-Plant QB Robert Marve

Judge grants ex-girlfriend’s restraining order against ex-Plant QB Robert Marve

PLANT CITY — Robert Marve hesitated to get out of his attorney’s car when they pulled into the parking lot of the Plant City Courthouse on Thursday afternoon. The former Plant High and University of Miami quarterback was there to plead no contest to ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Longtime Tampa Catholic athletic director Nick DiMaggio dies

Nick DiMaggio, the longtime athletic director at Tampa Catholic who was a fixture at the school's sporting events for more than 50 years, died Wednesday from complications related to a stroke. Funeral arrangements have yet to be made."Nick was an ico...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — His debut at the ACC kickoff attracted a wholly unsurprising assortment of topics. New FSU coach Willie Taggart was asked about his culture, his quarterbacks, his catch phrases.He handled each question deftly, hardly devi...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Willie Taggart: Francois’ offseason problems are ‘behind us’

Willie Taggart: Francois’ offseason problems are ‘behind us’

FSU coach Willie Taggart indicated Thursday the tumultuous offseason of QB Deondre Francois won't factor in to his quest for the starting job when preseason camp commences next month."He's handled his consequences behind that, and he's moved on," Tag...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week.The "Proper Anthem Conduct" section is just one sentence in a nine-page discipline document provid...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome shoots 78 in PGA Tour debut

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — Seminole native Brittany Lincicome shot a 6-over 78 in the first round of the Barbasol Championship, leaving the LPGA Tour pro's goal of making the cut likely out of reach.Lincicome was hoping to become the second woman to ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rowdy fans tarnish most iconic climb of Tour de France

Rowdy fans tarnish most iconic climb of Tour de France

ALPE D’HUEZ, France — One of cycling’s big attractions is that fans don’t have to pay to watch — and they can get as close as they want to the riders. The sport paid for that unlimited access Thursday when unruly spectators interrupted the most iconi...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rex Culpepper returns as Syracuse’s latest cancer conqueror

Rex Culpepper returns as Syracuse’s latest cancer conqueror

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Initially, Syracuse senior Eric Dungey thought it was a joke in poor taste. He had come to accept fellow quarterback Rex Culpepper as a prankster of sorts, but a crack about cancer? C'mon."I was like, 'You took this one t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Willie Taggart, Auggie Sanchez reuniting in Tallahassee

Willie Taggart, Auggie Sanchez reuniting in Tallahassee

In a previous life, Auggie Sanchez was a disillusioned USF fullback pondering a transfer.Willie Taggart talked him into staying, obliging his desire to move to defense. A half-decade and 388 tackles later, Taggart is trying to help shape the trajecto...
Updated: 9 hours ago