Tyler Simpson | Lead Writer
A small guard is almost always overlooked, unless you’re Isaiah Thomas, who has made every team that passed on him or traded him look quite foolish. There was one guard in particular that caught the interest of everyone in attendance at the Top Rank Showcase Orlando event, that was Devon Knaub, with game like Isaiah Thomas. Knaub a 5’9” guard from Oviedo High School in Florida was one of the few standouts that showed his game is bigger than what he looks. Knaub who was one of many undersized and small guards in attendance made sure he was well known after the day was over. He started the morning on the stand-by list and ended the day as a Top 20 All-Star and ranked #4 in the Top 50 prospect rankings.
Knaub’s quickness and handles had everyone in awe as he quickly turned heads to start the morning scrimmages. At one point a coach for the TRS said “He’s the best guard in attendance, he’s immediately Top 20!” Quite the claim for such a small guard during the first game of the day. Knaub continued to impress throughout the day and it was no shock. His favorite player happens to be Isaiah Thomas and a player that he models his game after, the similarities are uncanny.
Knaub is a quick and shifty guard who has nice handles and is fearless while driving to the hoop, he’s also not afraid to make you pay if you sag off of him, which he showed relentlessly at the Showcase. Just like Isaiah Thomas, he’ll really exploit your defense when you’re not thinking.
He is certainly used to being overlooked, as he has for much of his high school career but he’s determined to make a name for himself and to show everyone that’s taking a pass on him that his talent trumps his height.
Devon showing off his handle and finishing with a pretty floater in the lane at the #TRSORL
I had the opportunity to sit down with Knaub and talk about a variety of things, and where his game is inspired from.
You were the talk of the entire staff after that first session, so I had to come watch you at the start of the second session. Smaller guy, how tall are you?
You’ve got a great handle, you’re really pesky on D as well, I like that a lot. What are your thoughts when you’re on the court?
Basically just expose everybody, because my idol is Isaiah Thomas. When I watch him play I try to take things from him. He’s shorter than people, “Alright, I’m going past you, you want to step back? I’ll drain it in your face.” He’s gonna get all of that attention and feed his teammates for assists. It’s like Andreas and I, he tells me to take the ball and grab the attention and I’m just able to throw him the ball for a dunk.
You guys play on the same AAU team?
Yeah, on Team MOAM. Kids like that love playing with me because I draw attention and I’m able to find them for the easy bucket.
Is Andreas your only teammate here?
I think so, yeah.
So, he has a lot of faith in you?
Yeah, it’s like that wherever I play though. I’m able to form a bond with my teammates.
You try to model your game after Isaiah Thomas then?
Yeah, that’s my idol. He’s a good person to model.
Absolutely, he’s got that dog in him.
He don’t care. He’ll go after you without hesitation.
When’s your guys’ first AAU event?
We’re playing in a showtime event and then we’re going to Pittsburgh, I heard that’s a huge tournament. Five people that I know got signed off of that event. Then after that we’ll play in the Adidas Uprising tournaments.
Have you been hearing from any schools?
Yeah, a couple in the SWAC. Stetson has watched a couple of my practices. Florida Gulf Coast came in and watched my teammate and they told my coach that they liked me, but that’s all that has happened. Last summer Iowa State watched me play and really liked me, but they won’t offer because I’m not tall enough.
What’s one thing in your game you want to improve on?
Defense, to be honest. A lot of people say they want to be a better defender but never really work on it. Coming into my junior year I didn’t really care but the second half of the year I started guarding the best player and got better at it. Getting my body better as well. Defense is something I’m going to really work on. You can only play at the level you defend. If you can’t defend they’re not going to put you out there.
What did you like about this event?
Honestly, just coming out. Make some new friends, meet new players that are really good. I had a lot of fun at this showcase. It’s always good to put your name out there.
You were on our stand-by list to start the morning.
Yeah, Andreas told me about it and said I should go and that I was definitely good enough to play in it. This is my second showcase event, actually. I enjoyed it a lot, I’m glad I got to show out, because a lot of showcases kids don’t pass the ball a lot. I was able to show my ability pretty well, though.