Trevin Knell eager to meet new staff and get started

BYU guard Trevin Knell smiles during game between the Cougars and the TCU Horned Frogs at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, March 2, 2024.
BYU guard Trevin Knell smiles during game between the Cougars and the TCU Horned Frogs at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, March 2, 2024. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Trevin Knell was sitting in class when his phone buzzed. It was deputy athletic director Brian Santiago sending him a text. Days before, Knell and his teammates watched their head coach skip town in a flurry to accept a job at Kentucky.

“Hey, get out of class,” the text read.

“I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m in class,’” Knell texted back.

Santiago persisted and fired off another text — “You have permission to leave. You want to leave in the next five seconds.”

“We walk out and jump on FaceTime and all of a sudden, he goes, “Hey, we want to welcome our new basketball coach — and coach (Kevin) Young hops on and says, ‘What’s up?’ to us real quick. Literally, 10 seconds later, it’s on ESPN.”

That is how the team found out the associate head coach of the Phoenix Suns was coming to Provo. It is also when many, including Knell, heard the name “Kevin Young” for the first time.

Meeting the team

Young’s first face-to-face encounter with the roster happened just before his introductory news conference at the Marriott Center. Understandably, the locker room was restless.

“When we found out coach Pope was thinking about possibly going to Kentucky, all of us were like, ‘Oh, it’s possible but there is no way that is going to happen,’” Knell said. “Slowly, people started coming off the list — saying no, no, no and coach Pope is gone the next day.”

Young walked into the room and stared into the eyes of the players, who were wondering what all of this meant to them. Then he got right to the point.

“He said, ‘I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. I just want to tell you guys that I’m genuinely excited to be here and I want to win,’ Knell recalled. “Then he talked about (Suns guard) Devin Booker. He said, ‘I’m a relationship guy. I’ve got a really good relationship with these guys, and we are going to see a lot of Booker and Chris Paul in the gym this summer.’ I’m like, ‘Alright. I’m good!’”

Getting re-recruited, again

“Coach Young called me and said, ‘Talk to me about your game,’” Knell said. “I told him this is what I was really good at — I’m a leader, I have a competitive attitude and I shoot the ball really well. And he said, ‘Alright, what else?’”

Knell froze. He hadn’t had to put himself out there like that since high school at Woods Cross, when coaches called to recruit him.

“I was like, ‘Coach, have you watched some of our games?’” Knell asked. “He said, ‘I know who you are. I just want you to tell me who you are.’”

As far as first impressions go, Young hit a home run with Knell and the senior guard is no stranger to the process.

In high school, Knell signed to play for Cuonzo Martin at Cal, but the coach was gone before he completed his two-year church mission. Knell then signed to play for Dave Rose at BYU. When Rose left, he committed to play for Mark Pope. With Pope’s departure, Knell is committing to a fourth college head coach.

Making the pitch

“‘We are going to have an NBA-style offense. I know how to get guys shots,’” Young told Knell. “He also said there is nowhere in college basketball that will have the pedigree that he has and the coaching staff he is going to bring on that will help us get to the pro level (NBA or overseas).”

Knell took plenty of shots last season as part of BYU’s high-flying, 3-point-shooting offense. He averaged 10.6 points per game and shot 38.5% from the 3-point line — making 67. Against Cincinnati in the Big 12 opener, Knell hit nine 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 27. He is hoping to get those looks again.

“I said, ‘Coach, I just don’t want to sit in the corner every time,’” Knell said. “He said, ‘Trev, if I had a dollar for every time Kevin Durant said that to me, I wouldn’t even be coaching right now.’ I said, ‘OK, that’s fair.’ I’m really excited to learn from him. I just wish I had more time.”

Time is something Young hasn’t had much of since taking the job. But now with the Suns’ playoff run over, he will settle into Provo this week and is expected to announce the rest of his staff and get to work with Knell and his returning teammates, who are eager to get started.

“He is bringing in guys from the NBA and from overseas. It will almost be like an NBA staff,” Knell said. “Coach (Brandon) Dunson is supposed to get here tomorrow (Tuesday).”

BYU’s new men’s head basketball coach Kevin Young makes a few remarks during an announcement event in the Marriott Center in Provo on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is a play-by-play announcer and show host for BYUtv/ESPN+. He co-hosts “Y’s Guys” at and is the author of the children’s book “C is for Cougar,” available at