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Player Profile: Justin Knox

In the ramp up to the 2010-11 basketball season, Tar Heel Fan will be profiling key Tar Heels who will likely be major contributors this season. Today’s profile looks at forward Justin Knox.


Number: 25
Position: Forward
Height: 6-9
Weight: 240 lbs
Year: Graduate student
2009-10 Stats (at Alabama): 32 gms, 6.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 43.9 FG%, 73.3 FT%
Career Stats (at Alabama): 83 gms, 5.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 44.8 FG%, 72.3 FT%

What Happened Last Season

Justin Knox may be the most unique recruit for Carolina basketball since Bones McKinney in the 1940s. Knox had a solid, if unremarkable, three-year career at Alabama before he sought to take advantage of a rule that allows players who complete their degree and still have eligibility remaining to enroll at another school for their graduate work and compete immediately. A big, rugged, experienced post player like Knox suddenly became a valuable commodity for a UNC team that lost its starting frontcourt to graduation (Deon Thompson), NBA defection (Ed Davis), and suspension (Will Graves), and two of its backups to transfer (the Wear twins).

Knox appeared in all 32 games for a mediocre 17-15 Crimson Tide team, starting only 17 games while averaging just under 20 minutes per contest. He averaged roughly 6 points and 4 rebounds.

An outstanding student, Knox was the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2009 and finished his undergraduate degree in three years.

Outlook For This Season

Playing time will be plentiful for Knox on a Tar Heel team that only lists four players on its roster. Expect Knox to be a part of the primary three-man post rotation with John Henson and Tyler Zeller. He will certainly be expected to play more than the 19 minutes per game he averaged for Alabama last season. Knox will also provide key experience and leadership for a UNC team without a scholarship senior on the roster.

Knox seems to be a versatile player who can bang as well as step out and hit a mid-range jumper. He is well-developed and his teammates have commented positively on his strength.

Main Concerns

Justin Knox, you're no Ed Davis. You're no Deon Thompson, for that matter. Carolina's losses in the post are simply staggering, and for all the talent and potential of Zeller and Henson, both would have to become double-double-type players to replace the production of Davis and Thompson, and Knox would have to elevate his game above anything he has done in his career so far to match Zeller's numbers last season as the top post reserve.

Knox will also have to play intelligently and avoid injury and foul trouble as UNC's post rotation is paper-thin.

Wish List

9.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 20 min/game,  50% FG, 73% FT

This is essentially Tyler Zeller's stat line as the top post reserve last season, but as mentioned above, all are higher than anything Knox has produced as a collegiate player. Be prepared for Zeller and Henson to be 30+ minute per game players, so Knox has to give quality time in the post. But he will also play on the most talented team he has ever experienced and will have Harrison Barnes out on the wing and either Henson or Zeller on the other post to draw some attention.