By DAVID DORSEY
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Kevin Knox has quite a good problem on his hands. He also has plenty of time to solve it.
Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Florida State each have scholarship offers on the table for Knox, who plans to make multiple visits, unofficial and official, to each one.
“I want to commit after the season,” said Knox, whose stock rose between his sophomore and junior seasons at Tampa Catholic High School, when he advanced from 49 players trying out to make the 16 and under national team. “I want to slow everything down and just take my time with it.
“Now that I’m down to four, I don’t get as many text messages and phone calls.”
Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer continued their courtship of Knox, a 6-foot-9, 209-pound, 17-year-old senior forward.
The Duke coaches watched Friday as Knox scored a game-high 30 points with 12 rebounds (nine defensive), six steals, three blocked shots and two assists as Tampa Catholic defeated East St. Louis (Illinois) 77-72 in a Sunshine Series game at Florida SouthWestern State College’s Suncoast Credit Union Arena.
Knox started and finished several fast breaks, including one in the first-quarter he punctuated with a slam, just a few feet from Krzyzewski’s courtside seat. Krzyzewski also texted Knox after the game, Knox told FloHoops.com.
“We played hard in all facets of the game,” Knox said. “Last year, I wasn’t as confident as this year – seeing the ball, handling the ball. A lot of my teammates look up to me now, so I’m trying to be more vocal.”
Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa said he has noticed Knox grow as a team leader.
“It will definitely help him, and I’m glad he realizes that,” Dziagwa said. “His nature is, he’s quiet. He’s very humble about all that.”
Knox also made the Under-17 national team after his junior season.
“His confidence level just soared,” Dziagwa said. “If you had seen him as a freshman, 6-foot-4, we knew he was going to be good. But we never projected he’d be one of the best players in the country.”
The transformation of Knox from college quarterback prospect into a nationally elite basketball player happened when he made another big decision: quitting football.
Knox wears size 18 sneakers and doesn’t turn 18 until August.
Kevin Knox Sr., 45, played wide receiver at Florida State and briefly in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills as a sixth round draft pick. Seeing his son quit his sport of choice hurt at first.
“Yes,” said Knox Sr., who attended the game. “He was so good at football.”
Central Florida, Florida Atlantic and Florida International were among the Division I football programs who made early offers, Knox Sr. said.
“The problem was, he just kept getting so big,” Knox Sr. said.
Eventually, Knox Sr. came to grips with his son’s basketball destiny.
“His upside is through the roof for basketball,” Knox Sr. said. “I think all the coaches are looking at where he will be when he matures one year from now.”
As for where Knox Jr. will land, father, son and coach keep going back and forth on that one.
Knox Jr. already has friends from AAU summer basketball competition on all four teams.
“To be honest with you, he could close his eyes and pick one out of a hat,” said Knox Sr., who added he didn’t want to pressure his son to choose the Seminoles like he did back in 1989. “You can’t go wrong with any one of them.”
Knox Jr. dropped one hint as to which team might be favored at this time.
“Roy, he’s been at my house the most,” Knox Jr. said of Williams. “He’s impressed me the most.”
Knox Jr. said he planned to make an unofficial visit with all of his teammates to Florida State – when the Seminoles play the Tar Heels later this season.
“Coach K calls me about once a week,” said Knox Jr. who also has had home visits from Krzyzewski, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton.
“I’m going to look at who’s going to help me get to the next level,” Knox Jr. said.