Tag:Brandon Knight
Posted on: December 31, 2010 3:45 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 3:52 pm

UK can shoot its way to Final Four

Kentucky doesn't have five first-round picks on this team.

Three, probably.

But definitely not five.

So by that measuring stick this season's Kentucky team isn't nearly as talented as last season's Kentucky team, and yet I won't be surprised if this season's Kentucky team goes farther than last season's Kentucky team, which is to say all the way to the Final Four. They're young, sure, but they play with a unique level of maturity. Also:
  1. They're really athletic.
  2. They can really guard.
  3. They can really shoot.
(I like No. 3 the most.)

John Calipari has had four teams earn No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.

They were:
  • UMass (1995-96)
  • Memphis (2005-06)
  • Memphis (2007-08)
  • Kentucky (2009-10)
Two of those teams made the Final Four (although both appearances were later vacated) and two did not, and the two that didn't lost in similar fashion, i.e., as favorites who couldn't make a gosh darn jumpshot. The 2005-06 Tigers shot 35 percent from 3-point range on the season and lost 50-45 to UCLA in the Elite Eight because they finished 2-of-17 from beyond the arc. The 2009-10 Wildcats shot 33 percent from 3-point range on the season and lost 73-66 to West Virginia in the Elite Eight because they finished 4-of-32 from beyond the arc. In other words, Calipari's two No. 1 seeds that lost in the Elite Eight lost because they shot just 12 percent on 3-pointers in Elite Eight games, which is both an astounding statistic and something I can't see happening to his latest dynamic team that looked great in Friday's 78-63 win at Louisville.

The Wildcats aren't the nation's best 3-point shooting team.

But they're in the top 20.

Kentucky is shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range as a team and has two guards -- Doron Lamb (54.9 percent) and Darius Miller (47.4 percent) -- making about 50 percent of their 3-point attempts; Brandon Knight (38.3 percent) and DeAndre Liggins (36.1 percent) provide two more capable shotmakers. So is this the type of team that's going to miss 88 percent of its 3-point attempts in an important game? No, I don't think it is. And that's why it might be wise to call the Wildcats the SEC favorite and add them to the list of serious Final Four candidates.

They won't have five first first-round draft picks like last season's team.

I assure you of that.

But the less-talented Wildcats might be good enough to play for a national title, regardless.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 11:57 am
Edited on: November 15, 2010 11:58 am

UK freshmen are already at it again

Kentucky's Terrence Jones won SEC Freshman of the Week honors Monday.

It was no surprise.

The 6-foot-9 forward got 25 points and 12 rebounds in Friday's win over East Tennessee State, and that's almost always gonna take the award unless Brandon Knight or Doron Lamb one-ups Jones, which is my way of saying you can expect a Wildcat to win SEC Freshman of the Week honors more times than not for the second straight year.

A Kentucky freshman won it 11 of 17 times last season.

This season should be similar considering Jones, Knight and Lamb combined for 62 points against ETSU.
Posted on: April 19, 2010 10:01 am

Sometimes the world spins w/o a push from 'Wes'

I might've set a record for emails about William Wesley over the past week.

If I got one I got 100 -- one for each thing good ol' Worldwide Wes supposedly orchestrated on behalf of Kentucky in the past seven days. According to readers, he delivered recruits and met with others, and I'm half-surprised nobody's mentioned the role he almost certainly played in Sunday's 6-5 baseball win over Florida.

Wesley must've at least called pitches, right?

Honestly, it's become comical.

And just so we're clear, understand that I'm not here to tell you Wesley doesn't have influence on lots of things because, well, he does. You don't gain the reputation of being one of the most powerful men at all levels of basketball without being powerful. He's everything you think and more. But his celebrity has reached a point over the past few years where he's either blamed or credited for everything that happens, and that's just silly.

Let's take Brandon Knight, for instance.

Knight is the top point guard in the Class of 2010.

He committed to Kentucky last week.

Best I can tell from talking to people on both sides of Knight's recruitment, Wesley was uninvolved. He's never met Knight's parents and never attended one of Knight's games at Pine Crest High in Florida even though he had every reason in the world to be there considering Billy Thompson Jr was among Knight's teammates. Thompson Jr, case you didn't know, is the son of former Louisville star Billy Thompson, a Camden, N.J. native just like Wesley. They've known each other forever to the point where they're considered "family."

But Wesley never went to watch Knight and Thompson play.


Because it would've been on Twitter in a matter of minutes, and there was no sense in turning the recruitment into a spectacle because Knight was going to Kentucky no matter what. And yet you know who got credit for Knight's commitment to Kentucky, don't you? Yep, Worldwide Wes, the boogie man of basketball whose reputation has reached legendary status. Again, I'm not trying to tell you his presence hasn't aided in recruiting. All I'm trying to tell you is that he's much bigger than most realize, and he's not just out there hustling players for Calipari. For every time you've seen Wesley at a UK game, there's another time where he had dinner with Ben Howland, spent an afternoon with Mike Krzyzewski, sat with Bill Self's wife at a KU game.

Remember, he's Worldwide Wes.

Not Commonwealth of Kentucky Wes.

Anyway, I guess my message is this: Chill.

Each thing that happens at Kentucky or with Calipari is not the result of Wesley. Trying to credit or blame him for every UK player is like trying to credit or blame Osama Bin Laden for every terrorist attack. Things are more complex than that. So my advice is to chill and take a step back because though Wesley is more than most understand he's not exactly what most seem to think. I mean, if Calipari somehow ends up coaching LeBron James next season, absolutely, credit or blame Worldwide Wes. I know I will. But those who are now tying to credit or blame him for every little thing are going overboard because sometimes, if you can believe this, he's just not all that involved.
Posted on: January 15, 2010 11:58 am

Dear Gary (on Brandon Knight and Josh Selby)

Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Time for a recruiting update and what your crystal ball is telling you about some of the top recruits. I remember last year when you did your projections on where some of the top recruits would be going. It kills me to say, on most accounts, you were spot on. Xavier Henry, John Wall, etc. Yeah I gave you credit for Henry to Memphis (even though he ended up at Kansas when John Calipari left for Kentucky). Let's get an update, please? Your opinion is always valued, regardless of what the no life trolls on the boards have to say.

-- Jake

For now, let's just focus on the two best prospects still on the board -- Brandon Knight and Josh Selby.

My prediction?

One will go to Kentucky, the other to Kansas.

It could go either way.

But with Tyler Smith's gun to my head, I'd say the most likely scenario is Knight to Kentucky, Selby to Kansas.
Posted on: October 5, 2009 3:26 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2009 3:30 pm

Despite problems, KU involved with nation's best

Things have been turbulent at Kansas thanks to fights and Facebook and Brady Morningstar's drinking-and-driving charge. But proof that prospects don't generally care about such things as much as journalists is that KU remains the only school in contention for the two prospects considered the nation's best: Harrison Barnes and Brandon Knight.

Here's Barnes' list:
  • Duke
  • Iowa State
  • Kansas
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • UCLA
Here's Knight's list:
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Miami
  • Syracuse
As you can see -- because I bolded it -- the only school that appears on both lists is Kansas.

Even better for KU is that it seems likely Barnes and Knight will visit campus Oct. 17 for Late Night in the Phog.
Posted on: July 14, 2009 10:18 am
Edited on: July 14, 2009 10:21 am

Top prospect likely done for summer

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- When Brandon Knight limped out of the Riverview Park Activities Center here Sunday night, the thought from his camp was that his right foot was merely sprained. But that was wishful thinking, apparently, because it's now believed that Knight instead fractured a bone that has prematurely ended his summer.

"He's done," said one high-major assistant who is recruiting Knight.

And so just like that, the point guard from Florida whom Rivals.com ranks as the top overall prospect in the Class of 2010 is on the shelf for the rest of July barring some miracle recovery. He won't play anymore here at the Nike Peach Jam. He won't play in Las Vegas next week. And though it won't affect his recruitment -- Florida, Kentucky, Duke and every other school in America would die to sign Knight even if they never see him again -- what it will likely do is ensure that Harrison Barnes or Jared Sullinger finishes the summer as the nation's top-ranked prospect.

Does that matter?

In the grand scheme of things, of course not.

But you'd be surprised how much prospects care about such rankings.

So I'm sure Knight hates having his summer end this way ... on crutches as a spectator.
Posted on: July 13, 2009 10:45 am
Edited on: July 13, 2009 10:46 am

Recruits reminded who coaches Team USA

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The Nike Peach Jam is living up to its reputation as the best summer basketball tournament for high school prospects thanks to four games going on at all times under one roof. I could list all the coaches here watching, but that would be pointless, because they are pretty much all here save Tennessee's Bruce Pearl, who is in Israel coaching the United States in the 18th Maccabiah Games.

(Pearl was featured in the Jerusalem Post this week, by the way.)

Anyway, the scene is pretty typical -- a bunch of coaches walking around in shorts and shirts representing their schools. Jeff Capel has an Oklahoma logo, Sean Miller has an Arizona logo, Bob Huggins has a West Virginia logo. And then there's Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who opened the event in a Team USA shirt because, presumably, it's never a bad idea to remind recruits that you are the man who could someday help them play in the Olympics. Or not.

As for actual news, the big story (relatively speaking, of course) is that the consensus top two players in the Class of 2010 -- Harrison Barnes and Brandon Knight -- have both suffered injuries. Barnes cut his non-shooting hand and had to get stitches while Knight came down on somebody's foot and suffered what appeared to be a sprained foot.

Barnes is expected to play today.

Knight is not.
Posted on: August 8, 2008 2:20 pm

Dear Gary (on John Wall/Brandon Knight)

LOS ANGELES -- Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Alright, Gary, here it is: You're a college coach and you got a complete, talented roster coming back. All you need is a great point guard to lead your team to a Final Four. Your down to two recruits but you can only get one. John Wall or Brandon Knight? Who ya got? I know they're not in the same class, just go with it?

-- Alex

Man, that's tough.

I've seen both play and I love both as players. Wall is considered the next Derrick Rose, and I understand why. But when I saw Reggie Rose (Derrick's brother) at the airport recently he asked if I had ever seen Knight play. I said Yes. And he said, "That kid is really good." In other words, this is a tough call. They're both excellent. But if you're putting a gun to my head -- you're not really putting a gun to my head, are you? -- I think I'd go with Wall because I've just seen him be better for longer. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen him be bad. So put me down for Wall ... though Knight wouldn't be a great alternative because I might not have to hire his AAU coach to get him into my program.

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