The rap on Brandon Knight, John Calipari's latest hot freshman guard at Kentucky, is that he's too much a scorer and not enough a distributor. Coach Cal products Derrick Rose and John Wall met no such concerns this late in their frosh seasons, and while Tyreke Evans was seen as a likely NBA shooting guard because of a relative lack of committment to the pass, he still racked up plenty of assists.
Knight, though, is almost surely an NBA two-guard. That means that you'd expect his scoring prowess to be on display in Kentucky's first game of the 2011 NCAA Tournament against Ivy League champ Princeton. But Knight struggled from the floor all game long, starting the game 0-7. He did have five assists to just one turnover as the Wildcats sought to avoid the day's second huge upset (after Kenneth Faried led Morehead State past Kentucky's archrival Louisville Cardinals).
The narrative flipped in the final seconds, as Knight hit the game-winner -- a lay-up with two seconds left -- to save Kentucky. That gives Knight another chance to show his undeniable scoring prowess in the tournament as Kentucky will play West Virginia on Saturday. Thursday's 2-point outing was Knight's lowest scoring game at Kentucky; he had scored just six against Connecticut in November, but averaged 17.5 per game and hit the 20-point mark 12 times.
Knight has some real work to do with the NBA watching. While front offices ought to know what to expect from Knight based on scouting him all season and on the AAU circuit, don't discount how heavily in-person observation matters to many of these personnel bosses. Rose, Evans and Wall all boosted their (already sky-high) stock in the tournament. If Knight hopes to do the same, he'll need a stronger effort from the tip.