Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Sports

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

In less than 40 characters, while sitting on the living room couch Saturday, Tampa Catholic's Kevin Knox typed out a declaration that ended the whirlwind courtship, the endless phone calls and the constant questions.

Knox, one of the nation's most coveted recruits, announced via Twitter that he would be attending Kentucky for what most likely will be one season. The 6-foot-9 forward picked the Wildcats over Duke, Florida State, Missouri and North Carolina.

Knox, ranked No. 9 in ESPN's top 100 for the 2017 class, gives the Wildcats five recruits in the top 25, the only program to hold that distinction. Kentucky has done it twice before in 2013 and 2016.

He will join former Robinson standout Desmond Allison (1998-2000) as the only major recruits from the bay area to play for the Wildcats.

One of the things that intrigued Knox about the Wildcats was their history of sending players to the NBA after their freshman seasons. Counting the entries in this year's NBA draft, the Wildcats have had 21 players who have been one-and-done under coach John Calipari.

Knox's decision was an intensely anticipated moment and signaled an end to a year-long recruiting process that was as frantic as it was suspenseful.

Knox chose to do it quietly. There was some discussion with his family about making the announcement on television. Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa suggested doing it during an assembly in front of the student body.

The spotlight has never been something that suits Knox's low-key nature. In December, he was picked for an athletic award at school. Knox asked Dziagwa if someone else could be chosen.

"Kevin is not the flamboyant, Charles Barkley type of figure," said Knox's father, also named Kevin. "He does not want all the attention. I did some research when LeBron made The Decision and he later regretted it. So we didn't want to go that route and make a big spectacle out of it."

Knox has leaned on his father throughout the recruiting process. The two went on recruiting trips along with the rest of the family. They talked to coaches, dissecting their styles. They kept up on who was declaring for the NBA draft and what impact that would have on playing time.

Bullet points were made — and checked off — with each school. During official recruiting trips, Knox would shoot hoops. No crowds. No media. Just Knox inside an empty arena getting a feel for what it would be like to play at that particular program.

"There was not a lot of pressure on Kevin because he was already prepared," his father said. "That was part of the plan. If you've studied all semester, there's no scrambling for the final exam. Kevin had put in enough and had the right platform to make an educated decision on what's best for him."

College was the only option. His parents turned down a $1.4 million offer from a professional team in China that wanted Knox to play overseas for a year. To safeguard against injury, Knox's family took out a $1 million insurance policy through Lloyds of London.

The process turned out to be lengthy. Knox continually pushed back his decision to get a better idea on how he will fit in the lineup on his short list of schools. The waiting only intensified the interest. Knox was one of eight elite recruits who had yet to make a college commitment.

His father insisted he did not know what the decision would be until Saturday's announcement.

"That's how we wanted it," the elder Knox said. "It's always been that way since the day Kevin was born. My wife and I didn't want to know whether we were having a boy or a girl. We had two names ready, Ashley or Kevin."

Now the waiting is over.

Comments
The case for the Bucs and NFL draft prospect Derwin James

The case for the Bucs and NFL draft prospect Derwin James

The best weapon against the NFL's evolving offenses, Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher said, is a defender who can do it all — someone who can cover a tight end, shadow a receiver or blitz the backfield."The way the game is played now on defense," Fishe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hit parade? More of a pitching parade for Land O’Lakes

Hit parade? More of a pitching parade for Land O’Lakes

LAND O'LAKES — Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Land O'Lakes High School baseball pitchers have compiled a team earned-run average of 1.37, a stunningly good number."It's funny, because that might be our batting average at...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:05 Wednesday

Rays up next: at Orioles, 7:05 Wednesday

Wednesday: at Orioles7:05, Camden Yards, BaltimoreTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)Probable pitchersRays:  RH Jake Faria (1-1, 5.82)Orioles: RH Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43)On Faria: Coming off quality start vs. Rangers, allowing Shin-...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Who will the Bucs take with the No. 7 pick?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Who will the Bucs take with the No. 7 pick?

Rick Stroud answers your NFL draft questions in this mailbag segment, including who the Bucs might take with the seventh overall pick, which running backs they might be looking at, whether Taven Bryan could slip to them in the second r...
Updated: 3 hours ago
ESPN’s Rece Davis on hosting College GameDay from the NFL draft

ESPN’s Rece Davis on hosting College GameDay from the NFL draft

When ESPN's Rece Davis heard about the idea for boosting the college football insight into the NFL draft, he didn't need any convincing."My immediate reaction was, this is a no-brainer," Davis said.Davis will spearhead the network's overdue look at t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 9 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 24

Tuesday’s scoreboardBaseballCalvary Chr. 8, Jesuit 1Boys TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, King 1Girls TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, Freedom 1...
Updated: 11 hours ago
NBA players talking a very good game in playoffs

NBA players talking a very good game in playoffs

Boring interviews have been a hallmark of sports for decades. The art of the non-answer was undoubtedly developed as a defense mechanism — and it was perfected by Derek Jeter during his tenure with the Yankees — but every now and again pl...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

PLANT CITY — East Bay senior Haley Murphy had to take a few games off early this season to give the flaring tendinitis in her left knee a rest.When Murphy did come back around midseason, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez eased her into the fl...
Published: 04/24/18

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballMariners at White Sox2 p.m.MLBNationals at Giants (in progress)5 p.m.MLBTwins at Yankees6:30 p.m.1040-AMRays at Orioles7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCubs at Indians7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Dodgers7:30 p.m.FSFCollege baseballIndiana at Purdue7 p.m.ESP...
Published: 04/24/18