Not surprisingly, Pine Crest's Brandon Knight selected Kentucky over Florida, UConn and other top basketball programs. Knight is the top point guard prospect and will take over at Kentucky for John Wall, who was one and done.
Knight was heavily pursued by Florida, but Billy Donovan took the Gators out of the race shortly before the McDonald's All-American Game. It seemed like a curious move, but it might have been Donovan saying, "I don't want this guy any more." Knight, as a two-time Gatorade Player of The Year, will not be looking to establish a legacy at whatever school he attended. Knight wants to play good enough to get drafted in the top-ten in 2011. The Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman does a fine job of talking about what Knight might really be after in a college program.
The sentiment among those who covered Knight for several years is that Wednesday's choice to play for Kentucky was made for reasons other than the Wildcats' rabid fan base. Exposure, creating the Brandon Knight brand, getting ready for the NBA, making money: Those are the reasons.
If Knight went to Florida, he might have helped the Gators a lot, but he would also leave Gainesville as soon as the last buzzer sounded. Donovan also, while a great coach, isn't exactly Mr. Friendly. He demands a certain level of intensity from his players. Sometimes, it works (Noah, Parsons) and sometimes it doesn't (Miller, Calathes). John Calipari is a great coach too, but he will give his players plenty of room, because that is the only way to keep your NBA prospects in town. If you're an 18 year old kid, and you want to make money as soon as possible, do you play for the player's coach or the team coach? The choice was obvious for Knight.
Florida has 6-foot-8 C Patric Young and 6-foot-5 SF Casey Prather in this class. UF may have to wait until 2011 for a great class, with five-star SG Bradley Beal and DeLand PG De'Ante Saunders coming in. UF is still recruiting guard Austin Rivers, who has dropped his commitment to consider Duke. The Gators would have had a lot of excitement going into next season if Knight came to Gainesville, but they are better off without a guy who is more worried about his pro prospects than NCAA Tournament games.