At 6-4, 227 Larry McKnight Jr. is the type of guard you want on your team in college basketball. He could score the ball, dish out dimes, and also pull down rebounds from the shooting guard position. Not only that, but he was a smart player, rarely committing more than three fouls in a game, and could be counted on to convert his field goal attempts, shooting almost 45% his senior season.
Originally a Wofford recruit, McKnight redshirted his freshman year, only to get no minutes, and transfer to Palm Beach State College. While there, he not only earned floor time, but also honed in on numerous parts of his game, while scoring over 13 a game for the Panthers. His play once again gained attraction at the division one level, where he transferred again, and spent his final two years of eligibility at North Carolina Central, where he started every single game his senior season. McKnight took the time to talk to us about his college basketball career, as well as what lies ahead.
ME: Considering where you started (Wofford – Palm Beach St – NC Central), how did you change your game to get where you ended up?
LARRY: My opportunity to attend three great, however different programs, gave me different experiences to improve myself personally and my basketball skill set. Through these experiences I gained leadership skills, developed my shooting and the understanding of the game to become a better overall player in all areas of my game.
ME: How would you describe the feeling of finally reaching the NCAA Tournament in your final two seasons of eligibility?
LARRY: Entering the NCAA Tournament my final seasons of my collegiate career is something that I will always remember. Having an opportunity to share the experience with my teammates is something I can never forget. From the conference games, the selection day, the incredible support given by the NCCU Fans across the country, it will always be one of the best moments in my life.
ME: What did you learn while at college to help you become a better basketball player?
LARRY: Collegiate basketball teaches you the importance of hardwork and discipline. It’s through these actions I have improved my fundamentals that I believe are needed at the next level.
ME: What are your goals (basketball and non basketball) now that you’re out of college?
LARRY: My goal is to become a professional athlete. I have always dream of playing basketball since grade school and it has never changed. I want to continue to influence others and work in my community and schools. My mother is a principal and she has always fostered the importance of giving back to those who are coming behind us.
ME: What personal values have helped you along the way to becoming the person you are today (on and off the court?)
LARRY: Determination, competitiveness and my team play are the forefront of Larry McKnight. I never give up in a game; I want the win for my team. It’s with this belief I understand that individuals cannot win championships, it requires team effort. From my youth league, AAU, high school to college, it was always when team play was on the court that we achieve the highest honors.
ME: What are your thoughts on NC Central going into the 2019/20 season? Finally, what advice would you give to a high-school prospective looking to play Division 1 basketball?
LARRY: Our 19-20 season was very special because we had an opportunity to 3-peat and some doubted that we could do it because of our regular season. It was great to show everyone what our squad was made of and the talent we possessed as a unit.
ME: Finally, what advice would you give to a high school prospective looking to play Division 1 basketball?
LARRY: I would encourage them to ensure the balance their academics and practice time. It is also important to take care of your body by giving appropriate rest, diet and always to stay in the gym as much as possible because when you’re not working towards your goals somebody else is.