Kevin Knox became the 18th lottery pick coach John Calipari has had when the New York Knicks made him the ninth pick in Thursdayof the John Calipari era when the New York Knicks selected him with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
“I think it’s a great opportunity. It’s the mecca of basketball, the media capital of basketball. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to come here and play alongside (Kristaps) Porzingis, (Tim) Hardaway, and some of the great players on the team,” Knox said.
“They got a new coach in (David) Fizdale. He’s a players’ coach, and I think that me and him are really going to get along. He’s going to teach me so much. Porzingis is going to teach me a lot. I think they’re going to get me a lot better.”
Here’s more of what Knox had to say after his selection.
Q. New York obviously can be a tough place to play because of all the media. How do you feel about that? And the fact that you played at Kentucky, a place where basketball is so popular, does that help you?
KEVIN KNOX: Yeah, that helps a lot. At Kentucky, it’s basically as big as the way the Knicks is in the NBA. Kentucky is a powerhouse school in college basketball, so I think it gets you ready. You play a lot of top games on ESPN, packed crowds everywhere. That’s kind of how Madison Square Garden will be. I think Kentucky helped me really well. I think it’ll be really fun.
Q. I know there’s a lot of emotion going on, but last year they drafted Frank Ntilikina, KP is young, you’re young. Do you like the idea of a franchise who’s willing to take young guys and go?
KEVIN KNOX: I love Frank. I know he works really hard. I think me, him and Porzingis, alongside some of the other great guys on the team, I think are going to do really fine. Frank is a great point guard who is coming up in the NBA right now. Porzingis, one of the best players in the NBA. And you’ve got me, who is real young and is willing to work, willing to get better. I think us three is going to be really good together.
Q. During a Hot 97 interview earlier today you referred to the Knicks as “we.” Did they make a guarantee to you?
KEVIN KNOX: No, they didn’t. I saw that after. I think it was just an accident. I think it was just the way I was speaking. But hey, look where I’m at now. I’m playing with the New York Knicks, so I guess that had to do something with it.
Q. Since you were in Kentucky have you ever visited Fort Knox?
KEVIN KNOX: I have not. I’ve got to get there.
Q. Being that you’re in New York, what is the first thing you want to do now that you’re here?
KEVIN KNOX: I’ve been here a lot of times, but one thing I haven’t done is tried the pizza. I heard they’re really known for their pizza. I haven’t had pizza in New York, so that’s something everyone is telling me to do. I’m really looking forward to getting some pizza.
Q. When you hear fans chanting Michael Porter’s name, what’s your reaction to that?
KEVIN KNOX: That’s just motivation. A lot of people want him to get to the Knicks, but I mean, it’s all good with me. I’m ready to get to work. I’m ready to get to work and ready to prove people in Summer League and prove people in the NBA. They booed Porzingis (on draft night) and look where he is now. That’s the same mindset I’m going to have. They can chant Michael Porter all they want. But they got Kevin Knox, and I’m willing to work and I’m willing to get better.
Q. Do I understand correctly that you played quarterback?
KEVIN KNOX: Yes, sir.
Q. When did you make the commitment to go basketball full-time, and what does playing quarterback help you with?
KEVIN KNOX: Yeah, playing quarterback, I played until my sophomore year in high school. So you have to have quick reactions. You’ve got to be able to know pretty much everything that’s going on on the field, lateral quickness, lateral movements in the pocket. I mean, football is a little bit different as far as lifting weights. We lifted weights every day. It’s a different type of sport. So those things, different aspects, they help you in basketball.
Q. You talked about your enthusiasm being on the Knicks and how their team is really, really young. Because of that and your self-confidence, do you expect to start the season, or are you happy if it ends up being like a role off the bench?
KEVIN KNOX: I mean, it doesn’t really matter where I’m at. I’m going to go in with the mindset that I’m going to compete every day and work hard to have a starting spot. But nothing is guaranteed, especially in the NBA. Fizdale is going to let me fight for the position, fight for the spot. I know I’m going to have to earn it, but I’m willing to work. Nothing is guaranteed. The goal is to start, and I’m going to compete for that starting spot.
Q. Obviously you’re young and your game is growing, but what do you think you bring to the Knicks right now?
KEVIN KNOX: My versatility. I think I can pretty much play all around the floor. I can handle the ball, pick-and-roll situations, make plays, make passes. I can stretch the floor, shoot the ball, get rebounds, push it coast to coast. So I think that versatility in the league is something that a lot of teams really need, and I think that’s something I can bring to the Knicks right now.