12 Brandon Knight

Brandon Knight
Hometown (Last School)
Fort Lauderdale, FL
December 2, 1991

Brandon Knight was born Brandon Emmanuel Knight in Miami,  on December 2, 1991, to Efrem and Tonya Knight. Knight played college basketball for  for one season before being selected by the Detroit Pistons in the 2011 draft.

Knight attended Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A student-athlete at Pine Crest, Knight held a 4.3 grade-point average. As a junior in 2008–09, he averaged 31.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.2 steals. As a senior in 2009–10, he averaged 32.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He was subsequently named Gatorade National Player of the Year both years and earned Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year in 2010. He led Pine Crest to four state title games, winning state championships in 2008 and 2009. He was also a four-time class 3A-1A Basketball Player of the Year (as named by the Miami Herald) and a two-time Mr. Basketball. His 3,515 career points ranks second on the Florida high school basketball scoring list. Following his senior season, Knight participated in the McDonald’s All-American Game, Nike Hoop Summit, and Jordan Brand Classic. In the 2010 McDonald’s All-American Game, he hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the West a 107–104 win.

Ranked as the No. 6 overall prospect of 2010 by Rivals.com, Knight, in an announcement on ESPNU, made a verbal commitment to the University of Kentucky on April 14, 2010. “I just chose Kentucky because I felt it was a place that had great players, a great environment, and a place where I can elevate my game,” Knight said on ESPNU.  Knight did not sign a binding national letter of intent with Kentucky. He kept his options open by signing a financial-aid agreement, which indicated his intention to play for Kentucky, but left him free to go elsewhere amid speculation about coach John Calipari going to the NBA.  Knight chose Kentucky over Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Miami, and Syracuse.

Knight averaged 17.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 38 games as a freshman for the Kentucky Wildcats. He shot 42% from the field, 38% from three-point range, and 80% from the free-throw line on the season. He set Kentucky freshman records in points scored (657), 3-pointers made (87), and most 20-point games in a season (14). He also led the team in SEC play with 17.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 16 games to earn First-Team All-SEC honors by the coaches, Second-Team All-SEC by the media, and an SEC All-Freshman team selection. Knight scored a career-high 30 points against in the third round of the 2011 NCAA tournament. He then recorded 22 points, seven rebounds, and four assists against North Carolina in the Elite Eight and was named the NCAA East Region All-Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

After losing five first-round picks to the Draft last year, the Kentucky Wildcats weren’t considered likely to be one the four teams still playing the last weekend of the college basketball season. However, after falling at Arkansas in overtime on February 23, the Cats, led by Coach John Calipari, reeled off 10 straight wins, including the SEC Tournament Championship, to return to college basketball’s biggest stage the Final Four. Making the 14th Final Four appearance in school history, the Wildcats unlikely run to provided plenty of fun and excitement for Big Blue fans. Kentucky’s road to the Final Four was tough, seeded No. 4 in the East Region, widely considered the deepest region in the tournament. Coach John Calipari and the Cats opened the tournament in Tampa against ly League champion No. 13 seed Princeton. Freshman point guard Brandon Knight’s late layup gave UK a 59-57 win. Next up the Cats defeated No. 5 71-63 to advance to the Sweet 16 in Newark where overall No. 1 seed awaited. Led by national Freshman of the Year Jared Sullinger, the Buckeyes presented the biggest challenge of the season to date for the Wildcats. With tenacious defense and timely shooting, the Wildcats won 62-60 to earn a date with No. 2 seed North Carolina in the Elite Eight. UK avenged an early season loss, defeating the Tar Heels 76-69 to claim the East Region championship and advancing to the Final Four. Knight was named the East Region Most Outstanding Player. He was joined on the East All-Region Team by Senior and junior DeAndre Liggins. The Wildcats fell short of the ultimate goal, the school’s eighth national championship falling to Connecticut 56-55 in the national semifinals. Kentucky (29-9) finished in second place in the SEC East standings and captured the school’s 27th SEC Tournament Championship.

In April 2011, Knight declared for the draft, forgoing his final three years of college eligibility

Knight was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 draft. In May 2012, he earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors, becoming the first Pistons’ rookie since Grant Hill (1994–95) to be named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Knight’s 847 points were the second-most by a Pistons’ rookie since the 1985–86 season and his 12.8 points per game was the fourth-highest average by a Pistons’ rookie since the 1980–81 season. Knight appeared in 141 games (135 starts) in two seasons with Detroit, averaging 13.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting 37.3 percent from beyond the arc. He scored in double figures 92 times with the Pistons, including three 30-point outings.

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