UNC Recruiting: The Importance of Kevin Knox to UNC


Kevin Knox’s recruitment is in the homestretch, can UNC seal the deal on one of its most important recruits in a while?

Much has been made of the recent recruiting struggles of the UNC basketball program.

The last consensus top ten player they landed was Justin Jackson, who is still playing for Heels.

Before Jackson, you have to go all the way back to the 2011 class to find another consensus top ten player, James Michael McAdoo. This is a long ways from the days where it seemed like UNC reeled in top ten talent on a yearly basis.

The Heels have struck out on many top recruits this season, most recently including Jarred Vanderbilt and Wendell Carter. While the Heels have struck out on some big names, they have happened to find some diamonds in the rough.

Kennedy Meeks was ranked in the 50’s, Kenny Williams in the 80’s, and Brice Johnson in the late 30’s.

All of those players have turned into serviceable players for the Heels, and one was an All-American.

Sure, the Heels have signed Jalek Felton, and Tony Bradley, both five stars in their own right, but they would love to have multiple five stars in one class. The last class with multiple five stars, was the 2014 class, with Justin Jackson, Joel Berry, and Theo Pinson.

The Heels only have one more significant offer out for 2017, that offer belongs to Kevin Knox. Knox, a 6-8 small forward from Tampa, Florida, is off to a stellar senior season. Knox can play several positions at 6-8, but he very much prefers to stay at the small forward.

With the excelling play of Justin Jackson this season, there are talks that he could be heading to the Draft. Jackson struggled his first couple of seasons, but now as a junior, he is excelling for the Heels. Should Jackson leave, it would open up the small forward starting spot, leaving plenty of minutes for Knox to play.

Kevin Knox’s importance to the Heels can not be overstated.  Next season the Heels will lose Meeks, Hicks, Britt, and maybe Justin Jackson, leaving plenty of minutes for recruits.

It seems as if Knox will be waiting until February or March to make his decision. This would give him plenty of time to see who will be leaving the schools that he his targeting.

Knox’s recruitment is down to four schools, UNC, Duke, Kentucky, and Florida State. Many people around the recruitment put Duke as the leader, but recent rumblings have it as a “Dead Heat.”

One thing to know about this recruitment is that, the Heels will get the final official visit.

Duke got the first visit, FSU will host Knox this weekend, Kentucky will host at the end of the month, and UNC will host Knox the first week of February.

Knox was also on the UNC campus while his high school team was in the John Wall Invitational, in Raleigh. During that week, Coach Williams paid a visit to Knox. Knox has been very active with UNC, and it can mean nothing but good things for the Tar Heels.

Knox will be one of the most important recruits in the Roy Williams era. This recruitment seems it could end up much like the Harrison Barnes recruitment. In the recruitment of Barnes, it seemed as if Duke was the favorite for the longest time and a final pitch sealed Barnes for UNC.

Barnes was a huge recruit for the Heels, because we snatched him Duke. Barnes was incredible for the Heels, and could have lead the team to a Final Four, had it not been to a debilitating injury to Kendall Marshall.

One could argue that the recruitment of Knox is the most important recruit since Barnes.

Knox could become the jewel of the Heels 2017 class, and reaffirm the schools ability to recruit big time talent. He has shown throughout his senior season that he possesses the ability to be a leader, and an alpha dog, both of which the Heels could need next season.

Knox will also be expected to be a one and done. The Heels have not had a one and done since Brandan Wright, in 2007.

The perception around the program is that the Heels do not produce elite talent, which could not be further from the truth. While the Heels have not had the one and done talent, they have still produced several good NBA players.

The recruitment seems to be winding down. In about a month, Knox will be visiting UNC, and a decision will be expected soon after that.

It can mean nothing but good that the Heels have the final official visit and hopefully Coach Williams will be able to seal the deal on that visit.