LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Calipari said there were three to four guys who stood out last week at the under-19 Team USA training camp. One of them was Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox.
“There were times when I just shook my head and said, ‘Wow,'” Calipari said on an SEC teleconference Monday morning.
Knox is one of six 5-star prospects in Kentucky’s 2017 class. Early arrival Hamidou Diallo has the most experience of his incoming classmates, but Knox might bring the most intrigue given his size and positional flexibility.
“I’m telling you what he is: He’s a guard,” Calipari said in Colorado Springs. “He’s a (6-foot-9) guard. Look where the game is going. There’s how many true point guards? How many big guys?”
Knox won’t be joining Team USA for the U-19 FIBA World Cup in Egypt due to injury. He tweaked his hamstring during training camp and was sent back to Lexington.
Calipari will get to spend a few weeks with Kentucky players Hamidou Diallo and P.J. Washington, and wishes he could do the same with Knox.
“I wish Kevin would’ve made the trip, but you look at it and it’s not worth it,” Calipari said. “Just go back. You get yourself healthy.”
Knox was ranked the No. 10 prospect in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports. His commitment to Kentucky was a surprise as many projected Duke to be his choice.
“A lot of people said, ‘Why would you go there? They have a lot of players.’ But if you think about it, Golden State plays a whole bunch of guys, too,” Knox said last week. “I just trusted what they were saying. We’re all going to be able to do what we do best at Kentucky. Coach Cal is going to let us run and shoot.”
Calipari said Monday that next season’s team will likely be fast and disruptive, he just doesn’t know how. But no matter what this version of Kentucky looks like, Knox will be a featured piece.
“He’s gonna be terrific,” Calipari said. “Boy. He is really good.”