Commentary

Skinny frame with a big game

Danrad Knowles is called "Chicken," but he's definitely not afraid of dunking

Originally Published: July 26, 2011
By Corey Long | ESPN Recruiting

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- At 6-foot-9, 180 pounds, it's easy to see why Danrad Knowles' nickname is "Chicken."

But behind Knowles' lean frame lies a big game and a ceiling that continues to get higher every time he steps on the floor.

"He's improved so much since he's gotten here," said Texas Pro coach Marland Lowe. "He's got his shooting range up to 21 to 22 feet. He's gotten better with his individual ballhandling and he's got a very good feel for the game."

[+] EnlargeDanard Knowles
Davide De PasDanrad Knowles is always looking to finish strong at the rim.

Knowles will have his game tested Tuesday night when Texas Pro takes on the Georgia Stars on ESPNU (7 p.m. ET).

"I really don't know what to expect," Knowles said about his national television debut. "I just want to play hard, play my game and do the things I'm supposed to do."

The Houston native is going to bring energy on both sides of the floor and will get several opportunities to make plays and show his versatility.

"He can bring the ball down the floor and make plays," Lowe said. "He also makes the right passes. He can move the ball around in traffic as well."

Right now, Lowe says that Knowles plays the 4 but says is going to translate into a natural 3-man at the next level.

And as Knowles fills out and becomes stronger, his game will continue to improve.

"He's still got to work on improving his body strength because the guys that can cover him are the ones with an advantage there," Lowe said. "Strength is the key for him right now. Once he gets strong it's going to be tough to stop him because he's already very explosive."

Schools like Baylor, Houston, Missouri, Arkansas and Florida State have already offered and are banking on that strength formation.

Knowles, himself, says the battle to get bigger is something he's always working on.

"I eat all the time," Knowles says laughing. "I'm doing everything I can to get my weight up and my strength up. I know I need to fill out my uniform and I'll be a tougher matchup as that happens."

Several other programs remain interested and will certainly be curious spectators on Tuesday night.

"He's got some offers from strong programs and some other programs are still watching him and seeing how much he improves each time," Lowe added.

Knowles, who is originally from the Bahamas, says that he's remaining open with the recruiting process so far.

"I'm looking at everyone that's interested and staying open," Knowles said. "I'm looking for the right fit and a program where they play an up-tempo style of basketball.

Lowe describes Knowles as quiet, until you get to know him.

"He has a great personality and a great love for the game," Lowe added.

Even though Knowles admits there's much he needs to work on, he's using his opportunity with Texas Pro to make a name for himself.

"I'm building a little bit of a reputation, not a big one but it's growing a little," Knowles added. "I just want to be known as someone that plays hard.

"And I'm always working to be better on the defensive side of the ball, especially as a rebounder and a shot-blocker. There are so many things I can do to improve."

Knowles' effort and desire to get better are what makes him attractive to coaches.

"I think he's a young man that learns quickly and wants to be better at every facet of his game," Lowe said. "Everything for Chicken is coming together and he's going to show it in college."

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.

Corey Long

Reporter, RecruitingNation