SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – With Hamidou Diallo already on the preseason watch list for the Jerry West Award, freshman forward Kevin Knox was announced Wednesday as one of 20 candidates for the 2018 Julius Erving Award, which is presented annually to the top small forward in the country.
Knox is looking to become the first winner of the award in school history.
The Erving Award be presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation’s top small forward for the fourth consecutive season. The Hall of Fame announced its original list Thursday.
The three previous winners of the award include Villanova’s Josh Hart (2017), Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine (2016) and Arizona’s Stanley Johnson (2015).
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players will be narrowed to 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to the award’s namesake and the Hall of Fame selection committee. The winner of the 2018 Julius Erving Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 6. Players do not have to be on the watch list to win the award until the five finalists are announced.
Knox is entering his freshman season at Kentucky as a top-10 prospect in the class of 2017, according to Scout, Rivals and ESPN. The 2017 Mr. Florida winner averaged 28.5 points and 11.3 rebounds a game for Tampa Catholic as a senior, where he finished with 2,760 career points. He led the Crusaders to a runner-up finish in the state tournament.
A 2017 McDonald’s All American, Knox scored 15 points and added three rebounds in the annual all-star game. He also scored 12 points in the Jordan Brand Classic and was a 2017 Naismith High School All-American Second Team selection and a three-time All-State First Team member.
Knox has been a mainstay with USA Basketball, winning gold medals at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2016 FIBA U17 World Cup.
The Erving Award is named after Julius Erving, who attended the University of Massachusetts and averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per game, making him one of only six NCAA men’s basketball players to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game. After two seasons, Erving made the jump to the American Basketball Association and was the league’s most recognizable player when it merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976. During his professional career, Erving won three championships, four most valuable player awards and three scoring titles. In 1996, he was named a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.