Tampa, Fla - One of Tampa Catholic's high profiel alums is giving back in a big way.
- Kevin Knox is a rookie in the NBA for the New York Knicks
- Knox was selected by the Knicks as the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
- Knox is Tampa Catholic's first NBA player
It’s the Holiday Season. And Tampa Catholic basketball has been opening several gifts thanks to one major donation made by a Tampa Catholic alum.
New York Knicks rookie Kevin Knox played for the Crusaders from 2014-2017.
After just one year at the University of Kentucky Kevin went pro, and was selected in the top 10 of the 2018 NBA Draft. Being such a high pick meant he was in line for a basketball apparel and shoe deal. But Kevin didn’t go with Nike, or Adidas, or Under Armour. Instead, he went with Puma - a company that is getting back in the basketball business for the first time in twenty years.
“They signed the number one and two picks in the draft (DeAndra Ayton - Phoenix Suns; Marvin Bagley III, Sacaramento Kings) and they signed Kevin," said Tampa Catholic boys basketball coach Don Dziagwa - who coached Kevin in high school. "I think Puma is making some serious end roads into basketball. Are they going to take down a giant like Nike? Probably not. But they can start to make some end roads here.”
Kevin didn’t just want to make himself known for wearing Puma...he wanted his high school team to be associated as well. So Kevin worked Tampa Catholic into his PUMA contract - to the tune of $10,000 a year over the next four years.
“When I came out of college I knew I always wanted to give back like other guys in the league," said Knox. "So I wanted to hook them up with Puma gear.”
Knox also have a little brother, Kobe, on the team, but said he was more than happy to make this happen for the team because of what Tampa Catholic means to him.
“He has basically outfitted us from head to toe in everything you could imagine - jerseys, shoes - anything a high school or college program would ever want” said Dziagwa, who is also the school's athletic director and understands how hard it is to budget for all the different sports apparel and equipment and shoes needed for each sport.
The cool part about this Puma deal is that each Tampa Catholic player receives two pairs of basketball shoes - The Clyde Drexler model and Puma Skeleton style. That's a value of roughly $250.
“To know we are wearing these when not to many other people out there are wearing Puma, it’s feels good," said Tampa Catholic junior forward Alijah Harrison, who played with Kevin in 2017. "It’s just so great of him to do this for us and we appreciate it.”
Puma was more than happy to accommodate the deal for Kevin, who knew he wanted to give back to the school that helped mold him into the person he is today.
“Puma was very big into it," said Knox after a recent game in Orlando. They knew I always wanted this and that this was something I wanted to do, so I did it.”
“We feel like we are now promoting Puma and it’s almost like we are part of the ground floor foundation of this with Puma," said Dziagwa, who also received a personal stipend to spend on Puma thanks to Kevin."I can’t think of any high schools that have Puma. So we feel like we are helping them in the sport of basketball.”
It’s an exclusive club that the Crusaders are now members of, thanks to a big heart from one of their most famous alums.