Former CHHS star Tay Knox transferring to Western Illinois

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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This week, former Charles Henderson basketball star Tay Knox announced his decision to transfer to Division I school Western Illinois University.

The 6-foot-9-inch Knox was one of Charles Henderson’s leaders on the 2021-2022 team that advanced to the Elite 8 for the first time in a decade. He earned All-Tournament honors during the postseason of his senior year and signed with junior college (JUCO) power Chipola College in Florida.

Tay Knox earned All-Tournament honors as a senior at CHHS. (Photo by Dan Smith)

As a freshman, he averaged three points, three rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 30 games. He scored a season-high 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds on Nov. 25, 2022, against Southern Union. As the season went on Knox earned seven straight starts in the last two months of the season, becoming an effective rim protector. He blocked a season-high five shots against Northwest Florida State on Feb. 11 and blocked a total of 19 shots during that same seven-game stretch.

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“The biggest thing I learned at Chipola was to go against adversity,” Knox said. “It was an up and down year for me but I kept battling and battling through it. There were some very low points and some good points, too. That’s the biggest thing I learned, to never give up and stay consistent and keep working.”

After the season, Knox decided to look to get to a Division I school and was eventually recruited by Western Illinois. The Western Illinois Leathernecks in Macomb, Ill., are members of the Ohio Valley Conference, going 16-14 last season. The Leathernecks earned their third ever-postseason appearance in The Basketball Classic in 2021-22.

Knox had a stretch of seven straight starts for Chipola as a true freshman.

“The biggest thing about my decision was finding a place that I could play at and that I felt comfortable with,” said Knox. “I went up on a visit and they made me feel comfortable and told me how they would play me. I talked it over with (CHHS Coach Tim) Fayson – my high school coach – and my mom and dad and that’s the decision we came to.”

Knox said that while he had never even been on a plane, let alone visited up north, the Leatherback coaches made him feel like it was the place for him to be.

“I had never been up there, I had never even been on a plane before,” Knox emphasized. “They flew me out and made me feel safe and secure there, though.”

Coming out of high school Knox said that his ultimate goal was to make it to a “high major” college to continue his career and he still has that same goal.

“Me and the coach sat down and we talked about the plans for me (at Western Illinois),” Knox said. “He felt like I could do a year there and try to transfer to a high major school. They believe in me (at Western Illinois) and are confident in me and feel like I’m a ‘high major’ player.”