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Giants acquire UAPB star McKnight

Manchester Giants have completed the exciting acquisition of Martaveous McKnight ahead of the 2021-22 British Basketball League (BBL) season, with the 6’4″ Missouri native joining from a previous professional season with OKK Sloboda Tuzla in Bosnia.

Known as a volume-scoring guard with significant variety in his offensive arsenal, the 24-year-old gained notoriety after two great seasons at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB), where he averaged 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game, shooting 45% from the floor and 37% from the three-point line.

In 2018 he was the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year and an AP All-American Honourable Mention, and in both that year and the following he was nominated to the All-Conference First Team.

“He’s a great addition to the roster,” said Giants owner Jamie Edwards. “Martaveous brings experience and energy to Manchester. He strengthens the back.”

For much of the early going in 2018-19 he was among the top 10 scorers in the NCAA, leading the entire nation in mid November 2018 after two 40-point games in the space of two weeks. At that time, he garnered significant national attention during a stretch of non-conference games against San Diego State, Colorado State and NCAA Tournament runner-up Texas Tech, in which he averaged 32 points and seven rebounds.

Amazingly, McKnight had two games with over 40 points – including 41 against Colorado State – and a further five games with 30 points or more between 2017 and 2019.

He had two triple-doubles in his college career, and in December 2018 he was the first player in nearly a decade to have one that involved steals as he recorded 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals; and along with eight assists in that game he was close to being only the second player in NCAA history to record a quadruple-double, following Lester Hudson in 2007. He also had a 30 point triple-double in a win over Alabama A&M, adding 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

In 2018, McKnight led UAPB to an appearance in the Conference Championship game, making the All-Conference First Team after averaging 20 points, six rebounds and four assists in post-season play, including a haul of 28 in the semi-final before eventually falling to Texas Southern.

His standout college career led to an invitation to NBA G-League tryouts, before being drafted by the Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia 76ers affiliate). After not featuring in the G-League, he moved to Bosnia in December 2019.

In the Bosnian league McKnight averaged 11 points and three assists per game, shooting 40% from the three-point line, as OKK Sloboda Tuzla finished fourth in the table. He also competed in the tough Adriatic Basketball League (ABA), where he averaged nine points per game as his team turned around a slow start to go 6-3 after his arrival, including a high of 27 points and six rebounds as Tuzla won a close game 78-74 against the fourth-placed side in Serbia, OKK Novi Pazar.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Manchester Giants,” said Martaveous McKnight. “I am ready to get to work. It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait.”