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Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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Kevin Knox poised to become Tampa Bay’s highest NBA draft pick

Kevin Knox Sr. was watching the NFL draft 24 years ago when the phone rang. Buffalo coach Marv Levy was on the other line.

"Marv said they were taking me," said Knox Sr., a standout receiver at FSU.

Soon after, Knox Sr. saw his name scroll across ESPN's draft ticker as the Bills' sixth-round pick.

"It was a surreal moment, but nothing like what's about to happen," he said.

On Thursday, Knox Sr.'s son will be selected in the NBA draft.

RELATED: NBA or bust: Kevin Knox's lifelong push for the pros

Kevin Knox II, a former standout at Tampa Catholic, is projected to be among the top 12 picks.

Instead of watching it on television, Knox Sr. and the rest of the family will be at the Barclays Center in New York.

"To have one your kids outdo you is just an unbelievable feeling and shows all the hard work that has put into this," Knox Sr. said.

Knox II was one of the players the NBA invited to be in the green room. He will have ESPN cameras following him leading up to his selection.

It is rare for a local to be taken in an NBA draft, particularly in the first round. Only five others hold that distinction: Brandon's Joey Graham (16th overall in 2005), Jeff Turner (17th overall in 1984) and Dwayne Schintzius (24th overall in 1990), Admiral Farragut's Marreese Speights (16th overall in 2008) and Sickles' John Henson (14th overall in 2012).

RELATED: Tough questions are mere child's play for Kevin Knox

Knox II, a 6-foot-9 forward who left Kentucky after his freshman season to enter the draft, already has made history as the bay area's first one-and-done.

Based on mock drafts, Knox II also is poised to become the highest local pick ever. ESPN NBA draft guru Jonathan Givony has Knox II going to the New York Knicks at No. 9.

"Obviously, this is one of the biggest weeks of my life," Knox II said. "I'm just trying to take it all in and enjoy all the events. There will be some nerves, I'm sure, waiting for my name to be called. It will be emotional, too. It's something I've waited on for a while."

Since declaring for the draft, Knox II has been busy auditioning for NBA teams. He has worked out for every one with picks between No. 6-12. Throughout the process, Knox II has shined, impressing scouts with his play.

That has helped him rise on NBA draft boards.

On Tuesday, Knox II held a second workout with the Philadelphia 76ers, who have enough picks to make a trade and take him. After that workout, Knox II drove to New York City to meet with his family.

This week, he has been treated like NBA royalty. Knox II is staying at a swanky hotel and has received all kinds of swag, including a new gaming system. On Wednesday, he on ESPN's Get Up! With Mike Greenberg and former NBA standout Jalen Rose.

During the segment, Rose proclaimed Knox II as the sleeper of the draft.

Knox II's selection also be a financial windout. He is expected to earn $2.5-3.9 million per year depending on his draft slot. He also talking with several shoe companies, including Nike and Puma, about an endorsement deal that could range from $600,000 to $1.5 million per year.

"I'm more focused on getting my name called and getting to work on being an NBA player," Knox II said.

His father is guiding him through the process.

"It's like having a family business where you build it and then have one of your siblings take it over," Knox Sr. said. "My wife and I were both athletes at FSU, and we've worked to get to this point with Kevin. We must have put up 500,000 to a million shots in the gym over time.

"If you put in the work, big things will happen."

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