Duke basketball fans received some disappointing news on Saturday night when 2017 5-star forward Kevin Knox announced he would be attending Kentucky.
It was a relatively surprising choice, considering Duke was regarded as the favorite for much of his recruitment, and in recent weeks, Missouri and North Carolina were rumored to be possible landing spots.
With so much wing talent already on the roster at Kentucky and other elite wing players in the 2017 class already committed, it seemed to be a stretch that Knox would elect to become a Wildcat, but that’s his decision and we wish him the best.
From Duke’s perspective, it’s certainly disappointing to lose out on a 5-star recruit that you’ve invested a significant amount of time in on the recruiting trail and someone who could be a key part of your lineup, but fans should can still be optimistic about the 2017 recruiting class and the outlook for next season.
Would it be nice to have a player like Kevin Knox? Absolutely.
Mike Krzyzewski has been excellent over the past five years at utilizing versatile wing players, with Jayson Tatum and Brandon Ingram being the most recent examples.
Knox seemed like the next one to fit that mold.
Unfortunately, that won’t be happening, and now it’s time to look forward.
Without Knox in the rotation, Duke will likely rely heavily on Grayson Allen and Gary Trent as the primary wings, and certainly Frank Jackson if he withdraws from the NBA Draft and returns to school.
There was also projection that Coach K could use Kevin Knox at the 4 for a small-ball lineup, but now the Blue Devils are likely to stay big with frontcourt players like Marques Bolden, Wendell Carter, Antonio Vrankovic, and hopefully Javin DeLaurier.
However, the biggest key for next season relates to another 2017 recruit Duke is still targeting – Trevon Duval. Duval is one of the top point guards in the country and the player Duke needs most in this incoming recruiting class.
A commitment from Duval would give next season’s roster a true point guard with playmaking ability and someone who knows how to get the ball to his teammates in positions to score.
Duke is regarded as the favorite to get Duval, but as we just saw with Kevin Knox, you never know in recruiting.
However, the expectations for next season change hinge on Duval’s decision. A commitment from him and Duke is likely a Top 10 team. Without him, well…hold on to your butts.
Kevin Knox would have been a luxury. Trevon Duval is a need.