Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Brandon Knight listed the five schools he was considering on ESPNU and then, to the surprise of virtually no one, pulled a blue hat out of his bag and made his announcement.
“The place where I plan to my college basketball is at the University of Kentucky,” Knight said.
“I felt it was a place that had great players, a great environment and just a place where I can elevate my game, with great coaches and great pieces around me already,” the 6-foot-3 Knight said.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Knight also considered UConn, Florida, Syracuse and Kansas, although Florida recently pulled out of the Sweepstakes.
Knight had yet to send his Letter of Intent to Kentucky as of his announcement, so Wildcats coach John Calipari couldn’t comment on him specifically.
“Let me first of all congratulate the Pine Crest school and coach [Dave] Beckerman for the job they’ve done there with all those kids and that program is really unbelievable,” Calipari told ESPNU.
The No. 1 player in the Class of 2010 according to Rivals, Knight led Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Pine Crest to a Class 3A championship and averaged 31.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals. He won back-to-back Gatorade National Player of the Year awards.
He also holds a 4.3 GPA.
Knight follows DaJuan Wagner, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall in the lineage of elite guards to commit to Calipari.
“I think a lot of players are enticed by Coach Cal and his ability with point guards, just because of the things that he’s done with previous players,” Knight said. “He has helped them to nurture their talents and get better, so I think that’s what entices a lot of players about that situation.”
Elite guards Cory Joseph, Josh Selby and Doron Lamb are still on the board, with Selby and Lamb expected to announce Saturday at the Jordan Brand Classic here in New York.
Knight said he would try and “recruit” additional players to join him in Lexington.
“There’s a lot of great players out there still, Josh Selby’s a great player, C.J. Leslie, Terrence Jones, Cory Joseph, a lot of great players. So whoever wants to come, I’m going to try to get them to come here,” Knight said.
CALIPARI TALKS KANTER, POOLE
Calipari also got a signed commitment from 6-9 big man Enes Kanter, the former Turkish star who initially committed to Washington.
Kanter played with professional players in Turkey but Calipari said he was “cleared by the [NCAA] Clearinghouse already academically.”
“In Europe, every player, 12, 13, 14, 15, they play on a club team and those clubs have professional teams and that’s why the NCAA is going back on these rules and looking them over again and saying, ‘Well, if a young man’s not 18, he cannot sign a FIBA contract so he cannot be professional,'” Calipari said.
“This young man, Enes, is 17 years old today so he is not allowed to have a professional contract. He’s allowed to get per diem and travel and education and stuff like that.”
Kanter recently dropped 34 points and 13 rebounds for the World Team in the Nike Hoops Summit.
Calipari also got a signed commitment from 6-5 shooting guard Stacey Poole of Jacksonville, the son of former Florida star Stacey Poole Sr.
“First of all, I love him,” Calipari said. “He’s one of the great kids. You know what he’s gonna be like for us? Antonio Anderson. The glue to the team, the guy that does it all. He’ll rebound, he’ll defend, his assist-to-turnover ratio will be good. He’s gonna be terrific.
“We’re getting the kind of guys that we want to go with, that are tough, that are good teammates.”
McCALLAM TO DETROIT
6-1 point guard Ray McCallam of Detroit Country Day picked Detroit over Arizona, Florida and UCLA. His father, Ray McCallam Sr., is the head coach at Detroit.
“I took visits to all four schools, really enjoyed the process and everything that the schools had to offer,” he said.
“At the end of the day I decided that I will be staying home and playing for my dad at the University of Detroit.”
(Photos courtesy Rivals, DraftExpress.com)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.