by Josh Adams
Newark, NJ- When Seton Hall point guard Quincy McKnight woke up this morning, it wasn’t at the team hotel. When the Pirates were going through their pregame walkthrough, McKnight wasn’t there. As the 9PM tip approached against the Georgetown Hoyas, McKnight was a question mark on whether he would play or not. The flu was running it’s course through him and it was looking very bleak that McKnight would be able to play.
“I had a 102 fever yesterday, didn’t practice, I sat up there and watched my guys go through walkthrough and I was evaluated by our trainer and it was on me to decide what I wanted to do. I came to shootaround and started to feel good and I told Coach I was good to go and to put me in the starting lineup.”
Well, flu or not, McKnight was stellar in the 78-62 Seton Hall win with almost getting a triple double with 14 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds while leading the team in minutes played on in front of 10,481 raucocus fans in the later hours of Friday evening at the Prudential Center. No one knew how bad McKnight’s condition was except his teammates and the coaching staff. It was only when I asked him in the interview room if he was hot because he was visibly sweating that he revealed to me just how sick he was.
“It was tough. I was up sweating all last night. Myles (Powell) called me and said he couldn’t sleep because he was thinking about me. He told me that he needed me out there tomorrow. I told him that you know I’m tough and if I can play tomorrow I’m going to play no matter what. That’s what happened.”
The leadership that McKnight has exhibited throughout the 2019-20 season is the stuff that will be talked about for years after he graduates. The season looked grim after Powell suffered a concussion against Rutgers and McKnight took over the reigns of the team and lead them to wins against Maryland and DePaul while stepping up his point production. With Powell now back in the lineup, McKnight’s game hasn’t wavered and it’s evident that his team looks up to him because of his leadership qualities. He acknowledged his leading by example by playing tonight under suboptimal conditions.
“My guys know that if I can be on the court I’m going to be on that court fighting with them all fourty minutes if I can. Guys were looking at me at walkthrough asking me if I’m going to go tonight, I told them you know I’m going to go but I’m saving my energy for the game. It was a good plan.”
It was literally fighting tonight at the Prudential Center as McKnight and Georgetown guard Mac McClung got into a verbal altercation that almost escalated into a fight towards the end of the game.
McKnight smiled when asked about the altercation and was pretty nonchalant about the nose to nose with McClung that resulted in players from both teams getting ejected for leaving the bench.
” I think he’s (McClung) annoyed at me now. He’s seen a lot of me, it happens. I just told him to look at the scoreboard. Nothing crazy was said or anything like that. Just two competitors going at it. That’s all it was.”
McKnight showed up Friday night and showed his team, the fans and his “competitors” that even something as vicious as the flu wouldn’t keep him off the court. He has a competitive fire that seperates him from most of his peers. The flu and the Hoyas didn’t stand a chance.