RALEIGH, N.C. – Tampa Catholic (Fla.) wing Kevin Knox knew that his team was going to win.
Not in the “overconfident” way, it was more about a feeling due to positive reinforcement.
“My team was hyping me up,” Knox said. “I just knew.”
Trailing by one with just four seconds left in regulation, Knox snagged a rebound off a missed free throw, raced down the floor and banked in a three-pointer to sink Cary (Cary, N.C.) Tuesday night at the John Wall Holiday Invitational.
Knox, an American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason selection, ended up with 38 points and 17 rebounds in the win.
“I think that was my first game-winning shot, honestly,” Knox said. “I knew when it left my hands that it was good. My teammates were just telling me that big-time players make big-time shots and that gave me even more confidence.
“One of the players got a piece of it before I went up for the shot so I pushed a little harder. It felt great to be able to make that play for my team.”
Tai Strickland added 22 points in the win for the Crusaders. Kyle Gensler led Cary with 29 points and six rebounds.
“I don’t know if Kevin called glass or not,” Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa joked. “I guess the banks are open late here in North Carolina. It was just a phenomenal shot. Just exciting.”
Knox’s dagger was just another high point for the team during its trip to the Tar Heel state.
The Crusaders were able to practice at the famed Dean Smith Center at North Carolina earlier Tuesday afternoon.
The Tar Heels are in Knox’s top five along with Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and Florida State.
Knox, who is ranked No. 7 overall in the ESPN 100, and his teammates will practice at Duke on Wednesday before heading back to North Carolina to see the Tar Heels face Monmouth Wednesday night.
Both Duke and North Carolina had coaches front and center watching Knox Tuesday night.
“It’s a lot of fun just to be in this position,” Knox said. “It’s cool to see my teammates get a chance to see the schools I’m looking at and enjoy the visits with me. More than anything I’m glad we got the win.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY