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PROVO — Trevin Knell admits he didn’t understand why things went down the way they did during his college recruitment.
He spoke with BYU coach Dave Rose early in his high school career at Woods Cross and felt like a scholarship offer was coming.
But the offer never came.
“If they had given me an offer, I would’ve committed right away,” Knell told KSL Sports. “BYU was a school I had always dreamed of playing for.
“I didn’t understand it, either, but the mission thing is really hard on scholarships.”
Knell had no shortage of chances to play college basketball, though. Nearby Weber State recruited him, as well as other local programs like Utah State and Utah Valley. Then came interest from the likes of Santa Clara, San Diego, Wyoming and Washington State.
Finally, the big catch: Cal coach Cuonzo Martin offered him a spot on the roster, and Knell felt at ease. He signed with the Golden Bears last November, and the 6-foot-4 shooting guard, who led the Wildcats to the first Region 5 championship in program history with a 12-0 record in region play, was locked in on Berkeley, California.
“Trevin is a shooter with unlimited range,” Martin said at the time. “His ability to make shots from distance under pressure is fascinating.
“He’s worked relentlessly on improving his strength and quickness.”
Then, on March 15, Martin accepted the head coaching job at Missouri. New Cal coach Wyking Jones tried to re-recruit the talented shooter who averaged 25.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
But things didn’t feel the same, Knell admitted. He asked for a release from his scholarship, and the Golden Bears gave it to him.
“There were a lot of unknowns there,” Knell said. “I thought it was best to reopen my recruitment.
“I had a couple of people who wanted to offer, but when I told them I was planning on a BYU visit, they were like ‘oh, great.’”
Suddenly, Knell’s “dream school” was back in the picture. And Rose had a do-over, of sorts, to recruit one of the top prep players in the state of Utah and the KSL 4A MVP.
It didn't take as long for Knell to announce his commitment to stay in his home state, doing so late Monday night.
“Rose didn’t try to make excuses; he just said they made a mistake and they wanted me there,” Knell said. “I really liked that; it was like a family. They just tried to fix that.”
Knell met with Rose, assistant coach Tim LaComb, and visited the Cougars’ sparkling new Marriott Center Annex. He made 7-of-8 3-pointers in the practice facility without warming up, which proved to be a good omen for the spot shooter who shot 48 percent from 3-point range as a senior.
But the best omen was the first basketball player he met in the gym.
“The first person I saw was Jimmer Fredette,” Knell said as his face lit up. “That made it even better; they were throwing out the red carpet for me.”
This time, an offer came — and Knell quickly accepted it. The signing period is over, so Knell can’t put pen to paper and Rose can’t comment on him until then. But that doesn’t matter for the next two years; Knell is leaving for a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Uruguay beginning July 4.
After that, he’ll return to the Cougars’ class of 2019, when his good friend (and fellow Bountiful-area native) Zac Seljaas will be a senior. Knell will arrive in Provo as Nick Emery is departing, and the two seem to have a comparable acumen as pure shooters and fast players.
“Coach Rose told me I have a green light when I come back; he has the confidence in me to play when I’m a freshman,” Knell said. “I hope I can step in when I come back, but I’m super excited about it.”