Saturday, August 7, 2010

UNC's Knox graduates, but won't play in Bahamas

Soon-to-be North Carolina forward Justin Knox graduated from Alabama Saturday morning, his uncle said in a text message: “Congrats 2 Justin Knox as he graduates from Alabama this morning at 9 a.m,’’ Darien Knox said in the message. “The final step to being [in] UNC grad school and to become a member of the UNC hoops family. Go Tar Heels #25”

Under the NCAA's graduate student waiver program, the 6-feet-9 Knox is eligible to play for UNC this season. However, he will not travel with the Tar Heels in their exhibition trip to the Bahamas next week, his uncle confirmed.

Although the NCAA now allows new incoming players to play on such trips, the athletes must have completed at least one summer school class at their new school. Although incoming Tar Heel freshmen Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall did so, Knox needed to take summer school classes at Alabama to complete his undergraduate degree in business management.

His uncle, however, said Knox is eager to move to Chapel Hill and join the team later this month, in time for fall classes.

Knox averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.8 minutes a game last season for Alabama but decided to transfer in part because he didn't feel like he was fitting into the system after coach Anthony Grant's first season.

The wide-bodied banger is a key late addition for UNC, which lost last year’s starting forwards, Deon Thompson and Ed Davis, to the NBA; plus two key reserves, David and Travis Wear, who opted to transfer to UCLA. Junior Tyler Zeller and sophomore John Henson are expected to start, but Knox is only the third scholarship player 6-feet-8 or taller on the roster.

Knox said earlier this summer that he opted for UNC because he wanted to play for Hall-of-Fame coach Roy Williams.

“At the end of the day, it came down to what the better opportunity was for me in the future,’’ he said. “And you can't really go against a Hall of Fame coach in Roy Williams. So I really want to learn under him, and hopefully he can teach me a couple of things, and get me over that hump and into the league [NBA]."

-- Robbi Pickeral


Anonymous said...

Unless I am mistaken UNC lost Ed Davis to the NBA and Deon Thompson to Euro-League.

Anonymous said...

Miss Pickeral,

You write that Knox, Zeller and Henson are UNC's only players 6'8" or taller. Yet in YOUR OWN article "Heels freshman Harrison Barnes a leader in the making", you state that Barnes is 6'8".

If you don't read your own articles, why should anyone else?