One theme surrounding this year’s NBA Draft has been how a star-studded college program such as Kentucky can prevent an individual player from showing his full range of talent.
Kevin Knox, who led UK in scoring this past season, said he could be an example of that.
“In college, you kind of have a role on your team,” Knox told reporters in New York on Wednesday. “And my role is a little bit different. It’s to play off the ball. I think this summer I showed a lot of teams, a lot of coaches, I could play on the ball. I could really do so much more than I showed at Kentucky.”
Knox said that one such eye-opening experience happened with Jerry West, a Hall of Fame player and now a consultant with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“He was really surprised about how good a passer I am,” Knox said. “I showed it really well in the workout. He told me he didn’t know I could pass that well.”
Although he has improved his standing in various mock drafts, Knox said he has not followed such projections closely. “If someone tells me, I’ll entertain it,” he said. “But I’m not going to go search on my phone, search on Google.”
Much speculation has involved Knox being taken by the New York Knicks with the ninth pick of the first round. If that happens, it would please him.
“It would be one of the greatest opportunities probably ever,” he said. “It’s the Mecca of basketball, the media capital of basketball. It’s kind of where everything happens, in Madison Square Garden. I think this is a big stage and a great opportunity to be here.”
Knox spoke in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which is next to Grand Central Station. He said his season at Kentucky prepared him for basketball on a grand scale.
“Yeah, 100 percent,” he said. “Kentucky is basically the New York Knicks of college basketball. You play on the big stage. Every game is sold out: 24,000. ESPN. Big-time games. That’s the kind of pressure that you have.”
With for the Knicks or some other NBA team, Knox said he has set a goal for next season: being named Rookie of the Year.
“That’s kind of the dream,” he said.