In life, sometimes things don’t go the way you envisioned them playing out. How you deal with the changes, and adapt to them, will be how people remember you in the long run.
One can get down and let the changes control them, or they can take charge and make the best out of the situation. The latter of the two is vastly recommended.
Former Wofford Terriers‘ guard Larry McKnight, Jr. is taking the road less travelled to set himself up for the best future possible in the game of basketball. Once a part of a highly-touted recruiting class for the Terriers in the Class of 2014, McKnight, Jr. didn’t see the floor for Wofford over his tenure at the school.
Now a member of the Palm Beach State Panthers (JUCO), he is looking to get back to the Division I level after a strong season in 2016-17 at his new home.
Looking back at his time with Wofford, one thing sticks out above anything else for the native of Miami, FL.
Before the season opener in the 2014-15 campaign, McKnight, Jr. was told that he wasn’t going to be playing that year. As tough as it was to hear, he had a decision to make. Ultimately, he decided to redshirt for the season, giving him an extra year of eligibility.
In hindsight, it was a great decision.
“It was a blessing in disguise for me to get that extra year to mature and better myself overall,” said McKnight, Jr. “I learned so much my redshirt year, and I got a lot better.”
After not playing a regular season or post-season game over two years at Wofford, McKnight, Jr. hit the transfer market. When players look for new homes, the vast majority tend to stay in Division I, which makes his decision stand out a little bit more.
It also says a lot about the type of person and player he is.
McKnight, Jr. made the decision to go the JUCO route as opposed to sitting out a year at the Division I level, committing to Palm Beach State. When asked about what led him to go that route, his answer was pretty simple.
“I wanted to get a fresh start with the recruiting process, hopefully being able to pull some bigger schools in.”
“I didn’t want to sit out another year because of transferring to another Division I school,” concluded McKnight, Jr.
His decision shows how committed he is to the game of basketball. McKnight, Jr. wants to play the game to better himself and set himself up for the best future possible. If that meant going the JUCO route, then so be it.
McKnight, Jr. is a more mature player than he was coming right out of high school, but will bring the same drive and work ethic to his new home that landed him at Wofford in the first place.
“I’m someone that’s going to play hard every possession, giving my all and always playing to win,” said McKnight, Jr. “As a team, we going to make it to Hutch next year and make a statement.”
He’ll fit right in with his new teammates and coaches next season with his mentality and mindset. The Panthers know how to win, and win a lot.
Palm Beach State put together an impressive resume in 2015-16. Last season, the Panthers finished the season at 24-8 overall, and advanced to the semi-finals of the FCSAA State/NJCAA District Tournament, losing to the Northwest Florida State Raiders.
With McKnight, Jr. in the fold, the Panthers will look to surpass last year’s win total, and advance to the tournament finals and bring home the hardware.
This off-season, the Panthers have had four sophomores commit to Division I schools for next season. Jahleem Montague (Longwood Lancers), Ivan Canete (Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks), Joseph William Powell (Coastal Carolina Chanticleers), and Aaron Horne (North Florida Ospreys) have signed National Letters of Intent, while three others from the program are still receiving offers and could make the move to the Division I level.
At the end of the day, whether it’s in Division I, II, III, or JUCO, basketball is basketball. All four divisions play at an extremely high level, and can set you up for success down the road.
All of them can be used as a stepping stone to bigger and better things down the road, both in the classroom and in basketball.
Despite the change of scenery, the end goal remains the same: return to Division I. Palm Beach State has an impressive track record of getting players to Division I, and McKnight, Jr. is looking to follow in their footsteps.
“I’m going to do my one year at Palm Beach State and go back to Division I,” concluded McKnight, Jr.
Sometimes, you have to make the decision to forge your own path and create your own opportunities. Larry McKnight, Jr. did just that, committing to JUCO as opposed to sitting out another year waiting for his chance to shine once more.
His journey started with the Wofford Terriers, and has now moved onto the Palm Beach State Panthers. As his career unfolds, McKnight, Jr. knows that he’ll always have the support of the Terriers athletic administration and basketball team wherever he goes.
“The relationship I built out there,” said McKnight, Jr., when asked about the one thing he’ll take with him wherever he goes.
“I know I’ll always have their support.”
The road that is Larry McKnight, Jr,’s basketball journey is currently under construction, and the detour happens to take him through Lake Worth, FL.
Sometimes the road to where you want to go isn’t as straight as you envisioned at the beginning of the journey, but the road will ultimately get you to where you’re meant to be in life. It may not be the easiest, and may require some extra work, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
It’s the road less travelled.