Carolina got the third-best result with Kevin Knox going to Kentucky.
The best, of course, would have been the 6-9 high school stud committing to UNC. The worst would have been Knox going where most prognosticators had predicted – to Duke. If you can’t get the kid, you don’t want to play against him twice, and maybe three times, next season. Almost the same if he had picked Florida State.
When Knox did not put on a Carolina cap as he tweeted out his decision late Saturday night, the next best thing would have been Knox choosing Missouri, a losing team last year from another league. No chance the Tar Heels would face Mizzou, and who cared if they did. Knox isn’t good enough to be a one-man wrecking crew.
Kentucky is not on UNC’s schedule next season, but Knox and the Wildcats will play in the other game of the CBS Sports Classic doubleheader in New Orleans, where the Heels will face the Lonzo Ball-less Bruins of UCLA. So they can watch and wonder whether Knox would have filled Justin Jackson’s position as well as most fans were hoping. And, of course, the Tar Heels and Wildcats can always meet in the NCAA Tournament any old year.
Why he didn’t wind up playing for Roy Williams was probably not the same reason he won’t be playing for Coach K. At Duke, they were saying he could fill Jayson Tatum’s swing man spot, but the Blue Devils have no experienced inside players and the slight Knox would probably have been banged around a little too much for his liking.
While all of us with light-blue eyes believe his addition, and Tony Bradley’s return, would have given Carolina a good shot at a third straight Final Four, you have to believe that rival coaches are still using the scare tactic that, until the ongoing investigation is settled, UNC might be sitting out the 2018 NCAA Tournament at the end of Knox’s one and only season of college ball.
So right now, it looks like a veteran perimeter of Joel Berry, Kenny Williams and Theo Pinson, and a front court of Luke Maye and Bradley, or one of the three bigs ol’ Roy has signed if Bradley stays in the NBA draft. The Knox suspense is over, and it’s not a terrible result.