Diallo, Knox selected to preseason All-SEC team

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Freshmen Kentucky men’s basketball players Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo were selected for the preseason All-Southeastern Conference teams by the league’s 14 head coaches, the league office announced Friday.

Knox was one of nine players selected to the first team, while Diallo is a member of the 10-player second team. Both players were also tabbed to the preseason All-SEC teams as selected by the league’s media members. Diallo, however, was a first-team pick by the media and Knox a second-team selection.

Thirteen of the 14 schools are represented on the two teams with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Texas A&M all having two selections. In all, 40 different players received votes for the coaches’ teams. The preseason teams consist of a minimum of eight players on each squad. No ties were broken and no predicted order of finish was made.

The 2017-18 season officially tips off Friday evening with 13 SEC teams in action. Kentucky will face Utah Valley at 7 p.m. in Rupp Arena live on the SEC Network. Conference play opens Dec. 30 and the 2018 SEC Tournament is set to begin March 7 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Single-game tickets for Friday’s game are still available. Fans can purchase tickets at Ticketmaster.com, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or the Rupp Arena box office at (859) 233-3535, or in-person at the Joe Craft Center ticket office.

Knox is entering his freshman season at Kentucky as a top-10 prospect in the class of 2017, according to Scout, Rivals and ESPN. He was selected on the first team alongside Florida’s KeVaughn Allen, Georgia’s Yante Maten, Ole Miss’ Deandre Burnett, Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon, Missouri’s Michael Porter, Jr., Texas A&M’s Tyler Davis and Robert Williams and Vanderbilt’s Matthew Fisher-Davis.

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 high school 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, a preseason candidate for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Julius Erving Award (nation’s best small forward), has been a mainstay with USA Basketball, winning gold medals at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2016 FIBA U17 World Cup. He led the Wildcats in scoring in their three exhibition victories with a 19.3 average, in addition to 6.3 boards per game.

A 6-foot-5 explosive guard, Diallo was a top-10 prospect in the class of 2017 by many national pundits. Both 247 Sports and Scout rated him as the No. 1 overall shooting guard. He is joined on the All-SEC second team by Alabama’s Braxton Key and Collin Sexton, Arkansas’ Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon, Auburn’s Mustapha Heron, Florida’s Chris Chiozza, Ole Miss’ Terence Davis, South Carolina’s Chris Silva and Tennessee’s Grant Williams.

During his final high school season, Diallo led Putnam Science Academy to a 38-3 overall record and an appearance in the state semifinals. He is a two-time all-state honoree and averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists during his senior campaign.

A preseason candidate for the Hall of Fame’s Jerry West Award (nation’s best shooting guard), Diallo has been a mainstay in USA Basketball and traveled to Egypt this summer with to the FIBA U19 World Cup under the direction of John Calipari. He averaged 10.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 18.4 minutes a game for the United States during seven games. Diallo enrolled at Kentucky in January and spent the spring semester with the Cats becoming a vital practice player during their run to the Elite Eight. He averaged 14.7 points in UK’s three exhibition wins this preseason.

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