De’Aaron Fox liked accounting class in high school in Cypress, Texas, has a mind for business, wants to start a gaming channel, is a Kevin Garnett fan and appreciates Russell Westbrook among fellow point guards.
He listens to classical music, especially Beethoven, and a couple years ago taught himself piano with an electric keyboard at home and YouTube videos. He decided he wanted to learn an instrument and chose between drums and piano. Guitar was not an option.
“Honestly, if I was to learn how to play the guitar it would be an acoustic guitar,” Fox said. “That’s just the way I am. I’m not all loud.”
And so the biography fills in a little more: Chose uniform “0” at Kentucky because that’s the number of people he feels should be feared, played his best in 2016-17 on the biggest stage of the SEC tournament and the NCAA Tournament, tracking to the top five of the June 22 NBA Draft and being considered as high as second to the Los Angeles Lakers, and a crazy liar.
De’Aaron Fox is LOUD! He is lightning with the ball, and lightning comes with thunder, a dragster of a point guard, and dragsters growl off the starting line with the ferocity to blow out eardrums. And his postseason, especially the 39 points against Lonzo Ball, also a candidate for the Lakers at No. 2, and UCLA in the Sweet 16. So much noise.
“But let me say this,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “John Wall used his speed as a weapon. Wasn’t as good with the ball, scoring wise, at that age. De’Aaron has floaters. Not a great three-point shooter. Good. But neither was John. But John’s thing was, ‘I am getting to that rim and I’m going to dunk on you.’ This kid (Fox) didn’t use it as a weapon and my whole thing all season (was) ‘Sprint the ball for layups. Rebound it, they outlet it, try to shoot a layup.’ And when he did, it was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ He doesn’t view it as a weapon. Yet. When he views it as a weapon, it’s a wrap. You look at a John Wall, the difference he makes, it’s just speed. One thing. Speed.”
Fox and Wall. That’s one comparison for the obvious reasons — both Kentucky guys, both good size for point guards, Wall at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds and Fox at 6-foot-4 and 170 while just 19 years old, and, yes, both leaving tire tracks behind.
Fox and Ball. That’s another. Both one-and-done point guards at cathedrals of the college game, but projected to go in the top five of the draft, and with two head-to-head matchups in 2016-17, one December in Lexington, Ky., as part of the regular season and the other March in Memphis. The teams split, but the individual matchup went decidedly in Fox’s favor thanks to the tournament. He had 59 points compared to 24 for Ball, 13 assists against three turnovers compared to 15 and 10, and made 21 of 40 shots compared to nine of 22.
The victory was not enhanced, Fox said months later, by the potential draft implications, the possibility that some front offices could use the Sweet 16 to help decide a close call in June between top prospects. The message was not from Fox to Ball and/or NBA executives. It was from all the Wildcats to LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s father, a payback for what Kentucky players said was LaVar dismissing them ahead of time.