By now most Tar Heel fans are probably familiar with Kadeem Jack, the 6-9 forward from Queens who had planned to take another year to refine his game at prep school but now has UNC and Kentucky inviting him for visits due to their depleted front lines. But it appears that, following the recent transfer of the Wear twins, the Heels may have another potential solution in mind for their lack of post players: Alabama transfer Justin Knox.
According to Jeff Goodman (who’s been getting a lot of ink on this site lately), Justin’s uncle Darien Knox has been fielding calls from Roy Williams and assistant coach Steve Robinson, who “want [Justin] pretty bad - they definitely need some bodies in the post.” Apply whatever grains of salt you want to that since Darien is managing his nephew’s transfer process, but it appears Knox would be a good option for the Heels at 6-9, 245lbs and with two years of SEC experience already under his belt.
Knox’s story is a bit of a bizarre one - he was named Alabama’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2007, then contributed three years of solid (if unspectacular) numbers - this season he averaged a shade over 6 points and a shade under 4 boards a game for the Tide - though he did have some bright spots, going for a double-double against Providence early in the year and scoring 17 and 16 in his two games against South Carolina. Graduating from ‘Bama in three years, he planned to play his final year of eligibility out as a graduate student, but wanted to transfer to do it. Alabama complied, though they put some bizarre restrictions on him when granting his official release: Knox isn’t allowed to go to another school in the SEC, he can’t go to any school on Alabama’s 2010-11 schedule, and he can’t go to any school within Alabama’s own academic system, meaning his initial planned destination of UAB is out.
Having not really watched ‘Bama basketball this year I can’t comment on Knox’s skill level, but at this point I would think he might be a better fit for the Heels than Kadeem Jack - he only has a year of eligibility, so Roy’s still free to keep a scholarship slot open down the line, and he has experience playing (although maybe not very successfully) against top-tier competition. Tough to say what the better option is, since from his numbers it appears Knox is what he is whereas Jack may have some untapped potential, but I guess a great deal of it depends on: first, whether or not either of the young men see Carolina as an ideal fit, and then, how Roy Williams wants to balance his scholarship situation for the next couple of seasons.