The Detroit Pistons selected PG Brandon Knight from Kentucky 8th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. This should help with the Pistons need at point guard with Rodney Stuckey being a restricted free agent.
It appears that if a youngster wants to become an elite point guard in the NBA, he needs to first be on the recruiting radar of Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
The UK mentor produced one of the NBA’s most electrifying players, Derrick Rose (Chicago) during his tenure at Memphis and last year developed John Wall (Washington), who was the No. 1 overall pick and most coveted point guard in the 2010 draft.
At present, the Wildcats’ coach is about to see another one of his players vie for the honor of being the first point guard selected in the draft — Brandon Knight, who followed Wall’s route of playing just one season in college, is likely to battle Duke’s Kyrie Irving for the right to be the first lead guard drafted in June.
“Brandon is a warrior on and off the court. He is as driven as any other player that I’ve ever coached. He has an innate ability to score while finding the open man. Right away he should be a leader and also a top-notch defender,” Calipari said.
Knight was a standout performer at Pine Crest High School, where he was recognized as the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a junior and senior. He became the first student-athlete from the state of Florida to win Gatorade’s national honors. A national advisory board that was composed of sportswriters and sport-specific experts from around the country selected him from more than 552,000 high school boys basketball players.
During his junior prep season, Knight led the Panthers to their second consecutive Class 3A state title. He averaged 31.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and three steals per game during the season. Knight scored 27 points, pulled down nine rebounds and dished four assists in a 60-44 win over Jones High in the state final.
That year, he broke his own school single-season record by more than 200 points, finishing with 968 points. He also set a school record with 127 3-pointers. These accomplishments contributed to Knight being named the 2009 Florida Mr. Basketball.
As a senior, Knight averaged 32.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game, along with producing a 4.3 grade point average. He was again selected Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year, in addition to being named the state’s Player of the Year by the Miami Herald.
The four-time Class 3A-1A All-State choice was a finalist for the Naismith National High School Player of the Year Award and was a consensus All-American choice. Ranked as the sixth-best overall basketball player in the nation by Rivals.com, he ranks second in the state of Florida history in scoring, totaling a staggering 3,515 points from 2005-2010. If not for missing 19 games his junior season, Knight might have been first on the scoring list.
On March 4, 2010, Knight played his last high school basketball game. After injuring his groin in the state semifinals, he led Pine Crest to the championship game seeking a third consecutive Class 3A state title, but lost 70-46 to Rickards High School of Tallahassee.
Knight played in the 2010 McDonald’s All-American Game in Columbus and hit the game winning three-point basket to give the West a 107-104 victory. He also played in the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit in Portland and in the Jordan Brand Classic in New York.
In his only season as a Wildcat, Knight led the team and ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference in scoring, averaging 17.29 points per game. His 657 total points established a Kentucky freshman season-record, as he also broke the UK frosh annual mark with 87 successful three-point field goals. He also placed second in the SEC with an average of 4.18 assists per game during the 2010-11 campaign.