"Knicks Journal" was present as every member of the New York Knicks (new and old) finally came together as the team met with the media for the first time at the MSG Training Center early Friday afternoon.
As a group, the Knicks displayed a great deal of positivity with hopes for success. How high the ceiling is for such success remains to be seen, but many of the Knicks conveyed that the newly assembled group is ready to strongly contend for a playoff spot.
Returning players such as Wilson Chandler and Bill Walker, as well as newcomer Ronny Turiaf, made it known that they and their teammates are ready to bring the Knicks back to its winning ways.
Media Day Observations
Roger Mason Jr. and Kelenna Azubuike both made an effort of saying they and the rest of their Knicks teammates (who all joined Amar'e Stoudemire in a luxury suite after he had thrown out the ceremonial first pitch) were not the cause of the Yankees’ “debacle” 10-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday evening. Hopefully the Knicks will have better luck on the hardwood.
Patrick Ewing Jr. was outgoing, friendly, and familiar with many members of the New York media, a sure nod to growing up with them around his father. He also made light-hearted talk about growing up in Orlando and enjoying its busy nightlife.
Amar'e Stoudemire feels as though the Knicks are a top eight team in the Eastern Conference.
Multiple Knicks, most glowingly Andy Rautins, conveyed how high team chemistry already was entering the season.
Turiaf also made it clear he would savoring Mama Turiaf’s cooking all for himself, and not sharing with his teammates, when they make the trip to his hometown of France for the preseason.
For more of what the rest of the Knicks had to say, continue reading.
How he’s improved over the summer: “I’ve been working on my spot shooing, definitely. I think that and my ball handling were two big issues for me last year. Those are the types of things that while I’m already good at it, I’m just trying to perfect them.”
On Eddy Curry: “He’s in great shape. We had out fitness tests yesterday and he did pretty well. I know he’s been working out in New Jersey He’s had a couple of tough seasons off the court, but people forget just a little while ago he was a 20 and 8 type player. “
On team chemistry: “This is definitely a fun team to be around. We’ve got a lot of jokes. I think it’s great that we have a little bit of everything this season and it’s great to build that type of chemistry off the court because it’s sure to help us on the court too.”
Roger Mason Jr.
On taking on a leadership role with the Knicks: “I’ve been in the playoffs four years in a row now. I think just being with pros and a winning organization (the Spurs) has been great for me. Hopefully I can come in and be a leader and instill some of those winning ways in these young guys.”
On his relationship with Knicks rookie Andy Rautins: “He’s just been real receptive. I think it’s important that you give guys a guiding hand when you can. He’s a talented kid who I think has a bright future. I’m willing to give him, and any of the other young guys, any tips I can.”
On the Knicks playoffs hopes: “Man, I usually stay away from predictions, but I think we have the capabilities of doing it. We all really want it, so hopefully we can get it done.”
On being considered the ‘team comedian:" “Our jobs are very serious as it is, even before adding on pressures for ourselves. I just try to have some fun with everyone.”
On his development last season: “It just showed me I can have success out there. It’s more of a confidence thing. Going from being on the bench and not knowing if you can compete on this level, to then having success on the court, it was just a great confidence booster. First and foremost though, now I want to win.”
On how the Knicks match up in the East: “It’s going to be tough. There’s been a power shift all of the sudden. A lot of the great guys from the West came to the East. With LeBron and them in Miami, it’s going to be a very competitive season.
Why he chose to join the Knicks: “There a lot of different faces on this team from the past couple years. I know there’s a couple players that have been here for the last two or three years too. They’re all very competitive. It’s a great atmosphere; very young. We’ve got a great leader, Amar'e Stoudemire, and a great coach, Mike D’Antoni. I don’t know how many games we’ll win, but I feel like we’ll be much better than last year. I am getting a great vibe that it will be a great season.”
On whether or not he will be ready for the start of the season: “Yeah, I should be. Rehab is going real well. This injury is a process and it takes a while, but I’m getting better and better.”
On enjoying life in N.Y.C.: “Most definitely! I’m happy to be here. The food is great.”
On teammates Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Randolph: “Ronny is a character. I think people will see that. He gets crazy in a good way; he gets very intense. I think the fans will like that because he’s really energetic.
“Randolph, on the other hand, is kind of the cool guy. He thinks he’s real smooth because he’s got those “one-liners," you know?”
What Knicks fans can expect from Azubuike this season: “I’m really hard-nosed—I give 120 percent every night. The only way I know how to play is to go hard. Great defense. Great offense—really aggressive play. “
Patrick Ewing Jr.
On returning to the Knicks for another training camp: “I feel like I’ve gotten better. Two years ago, I was obviously younger and not as experienced. I didn’t know what to expect. Fans can expect a lot of hustle, defense, and hopefully a couple of dunks!”
On contributing to the New York community: “It’s very important. Personally, I like going out and doing stuff like that. I’m honored to be asked. I like interacting with the fans and people in general.”
On getting to know his new teammates: “It’s been great. I’ve been hanging out with Landry and Andy everyday and all day! I’ve been talking to a bunch of the guys. I have a lot of fun. I think that it’s going to show on the court because we’ll have that chemistry.”
For more Knicks Media Day 2010 coverage, including features on Ronny Turiaf's animated nature and Andy Rautins' oozing enthusiasm, check back in with Knicks Journal over the course of the weekend.
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