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Kevin Knox: Kentucky will make me better

Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox dribbles up the court during the McDonald's All-American game at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Knox, a five-star recruit, is expected to commit in April to either Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina or Florida State.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox dribbles up the court during the McDonald's All-American game at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Knox, a five-star recruit, is expected to commit in April to either Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina or Florida State.

Since tweeting his college announcement to Kentucky two days ago, Tampa Catholic's Kevin Knox has received plenty of praise from local celebrities in the sports world.

ESPN announcer Dick Vitale, who lives in Sarasota, tweeted the Wildcats would be his preseason No. 1 after landing Knox.

"He is that good," Vitale said.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy also congratulated Knox.

"Y'all watch what happens. It's about to get ugly for the NCAA!" McCoy tweeted in reference to Knox joining Kentucky.

Knox said he also talked to former Sickles and North Carolina standout John Henson, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. The two discussed the commitment while watching Knox's younger brother, Kobe, in a travel league game.

No one else knew of his decision before Saturday, including the jilted suitors — Duke, FSU, Missouri and North Carolina.

Knox, a 6-foot-9 forward who is ranked No. 9 in ESPN's top 100 for the 2017 class, said he chose the Wildcats in part because of the coaching staff, the ability of the program to get players to the NBA and the intensity of practices.

"(Kentucky) is going to push me and make me get better every day," Knox said.

NBA OR BUST: Kevin Knox's lifelong push for the pros.

By delaying his announcement, Knox got an earful from just about everyone urging him where to play.

During the week of the McDonald's All-American Game, Knox roomed with Nick Richards, a 6-11 center who had already signed with Kentucky.

"Nick has been in my ear for a while now about Kentucky," Knox said during the media day for the McDonald's game. "He does a good job recruiting, and we get along pretty well."

Knox and Richards have known each other since last year when they started playing in national showcases.

"I always hound Kevin about Kentucky," Richards said. "Every chance I get I say BBN (Big Blue Nation). He may be tired of hearing it but I'm still going to say it."

Now they are college teammates.

Knox said he will take classes at Kentucky for the second semester of summer starting in June.

It also could be another summer of traveling overseas.

Knox has already helped USA Basketball's junior national teams win world titles in Argentina (2015) and Spain (2016).

Kentucky coach John Calipari will coach the USA Basketball under-19 team at the World Championships in Cairo, Egypt. The team will consist of high school and college players, including some Wildcats.

"There's still some talk that I might be on the team," Knox said.

Kevin Knox: Kentucky will make me better 05/08/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 12:34am]
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