As the hours wind down to when Kevin Knox makes his final announcement, Tobacco Road rivals North Carolina and Duke are still firmly in the hunt. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels are battling it out with Kentucky, Florida State and Missouri for Knox’s services. Knox is reportedly planning to make his announcement next week.
Florida State has been working for months to stay in the running with Knox. But at the moment, FSU technically doesn’t have the available scholarship room. Even after losing Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, FSU’s five-man incoming freshman class has gobbled up all available spots.
Duke, coming off the NBA departures of Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Luke Kennard, has plenty of room for Knox. Mike Krzyzewski has been recruiting Knox in recent weeks with the idea that he can replace Tatum.
UNC has made Knox its top 2017 target for two years. With Justin Jackson leaving, the Heels are using a similar pitch — Knox can come in and make an immediate impact along the perimeter.
The situations with Theo Pinson and Tony Bradley do not have a great deal of bearing on Knox’s final choice. UNC has the scholarship room for Knox whether those players come back or not. Bradley wouldn’t take away minutes from Knox. Pinson plays a similar role that Knox would play, but they could be interchangeable, as Pinson was the past couple seasons with Jackson.
The two NBA decisions that may have significant bearing on Knox’s choice are the ones made by UNC’s Joel Berry and Duke’s Grayson Allen to return to college.
With Berry and Allen back, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils will each have senior floor generals leading them. At both UNC and Duke, Knox doesn’t have to worry about playing behind anyone. For these reasons, it’s appearing more and more probable that Knox will choose one or the other.
The two Hall of Famers
Coach K has gotten the best of Roy Williams on the recruiting trail of late. The Duke Hall of Famer outdid Williams head-to-head for in-state one-and-dones Brandon Ingram and Harry Giles. Krzyzewski also beat Williams for Midwesterners Tatum and Kennard, who both had UNC on their short lists, too.
The last time Williams beat Krzyzewski head-to-head for an elite recruit was Harrison Barnes — back in the fall of 2009. Barnes committed to UNC months after the Tar Heels won the national championship.
For Williams, he can only hope that the shine of another NCAA title will rub off on Knox, allowing him to finally one-up his biggest rival again. For Krzyzewski, it’s one more opportunity to prove, as many believe, that he’s simply the best in the business.