So the big news this week was Justin Knox electing to spend his postgraduate season of basketball in Chapel Hill next year, filling one of the slots left by Ed Davis and the Wear brothers' early departures. I wouldn't exactly consider it the sort of recruitment I swore wouldn't happen – Knox is the rare transfer who can play immediately, and only for one season, not a freshman you're planning on spending four years with on the spur of the moment – but if you want to think otherwise, you're more than welcome to. But what kind of player did UNC get?
That's a tough call. If you go by nothing more than the AP photos I had to choose from in illustrating this post, you'd get the impression he fouls a lot. Every single shot seemed to be Knox hacking an opponent, most notably Lucas Hargrove, the Auburn player he sent to the line with three seconds to play in January and Alabama up one. Hargrove made both free throws and the Tide lost the game, in that instance. In fact, Knox's fouls were about average for his team, although he drew whistles at a faster pace than anyone playing for UNC this past season. He didn't foul out at all this past season however, and has only done so twice in his career.
Offensively, he statistically reminds me most of Deon Thompson a couple of years ago, without the shot-blocking ability. A good rebounder and occasional shooter, he put up better numbers than the Wears this year, but nothing special. Some of that is due to playing time, which dwindled during conference play only to rise sharply in the final weeks as he took a starting job following JaMychael Green's suspension. His two highest scoring games came in his final four games in a crimson jersey, both against South Carolina, but he never had a consistent stretch of good performances. Some folks have argued that he didn't have a place in the new system when Anthony Grant took over the head coaching job; I can only hope so. He'l certainly have a chance to shine at Carolina, but I wouldn't expect much more than a competent player who can give Henson and Zeller a breather in the post.
The Wears, of course, ended up at UCLA. You can catch Ben Howland's press conference here, if you're so inclined. It's interesting that Howland is acting like they're coming straight from high school; the year spent playing at UNC doesn't seem to cross his mind.