UK’s Kevin Knox considered one of the top wing players in NBA Draft

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Kevin Knox will be one of the Top 20 picks in next month's NBA Draft in Brooklyn. Knox has already received an invite to the NBA Combine that will be held ahead of the draft. (Kentucky Today/Keith Taylor)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Kevin Knox has already received an invite to this month’s NBA Combine and will be considered one of the top wing players available in this year’s draft set for next month in Brooklyn.

Knox is projected to be a first-round pick and Reid Forgrave of CBSsports.com said Knox’s versatility makes him one of the top players in the draft.

“I’d project him in the 8-16 range,” he said. “To me, he’s at the top of the second-tier of prospects. I’d project him as a solid, versatile NBA wing, but not someone who’ll be a star. This draft is sparse on wing (players), which makes Knox that much more enticing.”

Knox, the team’s leading scorer and Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, plans to sign with an agent, ending his career at Kentucky. During his lone season with the Wildcats, Knox scored 576 points, knocked down 57 3-pointers and collected 200 rebounds. Kentucky finished 26-11 this season and lost to Kansas State in the Sweet Sixteen.

Knox helped lead the Wildcats in scoring (15.5 points per game) and scored double figures in 30 games last season. Knox scored 20 or more points in 10 games and led the team in rebounding eight times. Kentucky coach John Calipari praised the performance by Knox last season.

“Kevin came in as one of the youngest freshmen in the country and adapted as well as any player I have ever coached,” Calipari said. “He improved in every area of his game, became an efficient scorer like some of the best players I’ve coached here and could score all types of ways, including runners, pull-ups, 3-pointers, post-ups and in a pick-and-roll offense. His defense and rebounding improved throughout the year, which is a big reason why we were able to go on a run at the end of the season.

“He’s one of the greatest kids I’ve coached. He was a great teammate, a great student, and a great player. He is mature and responsible well beyond his years. All of that will bode well as he moves on to the pro ranks. His scoring ability and his 6-9 frame make him a position-less player that the entire league is looking for. I can’t wait to see what the next step is for him.”

In the latest mock draft by Forgrave, Knox is projected to be a No. 16 pick, behind teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Alexander is predicted to be chosen as the No. 11 pick by the Charlotte Hornets.

“I’m surprised I have Knox slotted so low here, as I have long believed he’s a mid-lottery talent,” he wrote. “This would be a steal for the Suns.”

Forgrave’s top five picks are Deandre Ayton (Suns), Marvin Bailey III (Grizzlies), Luka Doncic (Mavericks), Mohamed Bamba (Hawks) and Trae Young (Magic).

The NBA Combine set for May 16-20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the draft will be June 21 at the Barclays Center.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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