July 13, 2015

Knox is one to watch

Kevin McCarthy

Move over you prep basketball talents in Sacramento because room needs to be made for Earvin Knox, a 5-foot-10 14-year-old 2019 freshman who will be attending Burbank High in Sacramento come September. Knox is playing summer basketball for the Titans while also taking the court for the Ground Up travel team.

photo of Earwin Knox

Now some may question the efficacy of covering a prospect with zero official varsity basketball playing time on his hoops resume. Let the remainder of this article put that concern to rest.

Knox's middle school coach Don Manning-Fuimaono, who is also Ground Up Director of Basketball Operations, offered this about his talented point: “St. Mary's, Sacramento State and even California have taken early looks at Earwin. He is a student of the game who can score 40 when the game calls for it or score eight with a bunch of assists. In middle school, he scored 35 points a game, a triple double every night. He dominated.”

Manning-Fujimaono continued, adding a key element, “Earvin's not a scorer, scoring isn't really what he does. He is a true point guard that controls the game. You always have a chance to win with him on the floor.”

Ray Harris coaches Knox's Ground Up 14U travel team which is 42-3 since February and he is the last player to receive a D1 Basketball Scholarship—to Pacific in 1999—from Burbank High.

Also noteworthy is that Burbank High finished 15-13 in the 2014-15 season but posted a 25-5 overall record in recent high school summer league play, 12-0 in the Florin Summer League.

There will also be greater national exposure upcoming for the youngster. According to Manning-Fuimaono, “he will finish the summer playing at the 16U level in Dallas and Las Vegas for Nike EYBL participant Team Vegas 16U during the July viewing period.”

Knox's play in the backcourt has already been recognized. So much so that he will be participating in the CP3 Rising Stars Camp August 7-9 in Winston-Salem, an event designed solely for 2019 talents.

Ernest Knox, Earvin's father, has an interesting tale to tell. “I played high school ball but it wasn't like we set out to develop a great player. People just assume that you're the ultimate trainer but I actually didn't know Earvin could play. My oldest son, Ernest III, came home one day and said ‘you know, Earvin can play basketball.’” To the degree that he was playing playing with sixth graders while still in the third grade and the first one being picked.

What the eldest Knox has seen is “Earvin makes winning plays, the right play at the right time. He watches a lot of vintage, old school basketball and plays fundamentally and unselfishly. He controls the pace of the game and knows things like when to throw a bounce pass instead of a chest pass. It mystifies me.”

Adding more he said, “Earvin's just a down to earth kid, dedicated to his craft and always asking me when we can go to the gym. Right now, we're focused on what it will take to play varsity basketball as a freshman even though he wears size 13 shoes and can palm the ball with either hand. I just keep stressing [the idea] that get to college and you can be anything but he has bigger plans.”

As for the young man himself, it's a matter of his basketball prowess simply being what it is, nothing special. “I just really like basketball and have been playing since I was little, starting in the first grade.”

He nominated his best skills as passing, “plus I can dribble pretty well and shoot.”

Coming out of middle school, he brings a 3.2 grade point average so there's no forsaking of academics in the equation.

Asked for the goal of the Burbank squad this coming season, Earvin offered, “Burbank High getting to Arco [Sleep Train Arena]. The Titans play in the Metropolitan Conference, home to powers such as Sacramento High and Kennedy High and have 6-foot-2 junior Keshawn Bruner and 6-foot-3 senior James Gill returning with 19.4 points and 16.2 points per game averages respectively.”

Add in a humble point who thrives on facilitation and both Burbank overall and its top upperclassmen look to be even more dangerous in the upcoming season.