Kentucky signs high school star Brandon Knight
John Calipari’s rebuilding project at Kentucky is well under
The Wildcats signed center Enes Kanter and received a commitment
from guard Brandon Knight on Wednesday, two players Calipari hopes
can step in and fill some of the holes left by the defection of
five players to the NBA.
Knight, a McDonald’s All-American and a two-time Gatorade
National Player of the Year, donned a blue Kentucky hat after
making his nationally televised announcement at Pine Crest High in
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“I just chose Kentucky because I felt it was a place that had
great players, a great environment and a place where I can elevate
my game,” Knight said on ESPNU.
Knight chose Kentucky over Syracuse, Connecticut, Kansas and
Florida. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Knight was ranked the No. 1
prospect in the country by Rivals.com. He averaged 32 points a game
last year at Pine Crest and ended his high school career as the
second-leading scorer in Florida history.
Knight will have some big shoes to fill at Kentucky, which loses
three players to graduation and could have five underclassmen –
guards John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, forward Patrick Patterson and
centers DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton – leave early to head to
the NBA. The departing underclassmen were the core of a team that
went 35-3 and won the Southeastern Conference tournament before
advancing to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament.
Knight cited the success young point guards have enjoyed in
Calipari’s “dribble-drive” offense – namely Wall and current NBA
stars Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans – as a major factor in his
“The things that’s done with previous players … I think
that’s what entices a lot of players with that situation,” Knight
Calipari could not comment on Knight’s commitment because the
school had not yet received Knight’s letter of intent. However, he
told ESPNU he’s not worried about Kentucky’s ability to sustain its
“When you get this kid and a few other kids signed with the
kids we have coming back, I think we’re going to be fine,” he
Knight will join a freshman class that includes swingman Stacey
Poole and Kanter, a Turkey native who starred at the Nike Hoops
Summit last weekend in Oregon.
Kanter scored an event-record 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds
while playing for the International Team in a loss to the United
States. Kanter spent last season at Stoneridge Preparatory School
in Simi Valley, Calif.
Calipari said Kanter has the body and potential to be
The Wildcats are expected receive several more commitments
during the late signing period.