Carmelo Anthony's Trainer: UNC's Cole Anthony Would 'Love to Play' for Knicks

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 4, 2020

SOUTH BEND, IN - FEBRUARY 17: Cole Anthony #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels brings the ball up court during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion on February 17, 2020 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Greg Anthony began his professional career as the New York Knicks' 12th overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft. His son, Cole Anthony, reportedly wouldn't be against entering the league in a similar fashion.

"He doesn't want to be drafted by a team that puts him to the side and doesn't make it a priority to develop him," Chris Brickley, Carmelo Anthony's longtime trainer, told Marc Berman of the New York Post. "He wants to be put in a situation where he can be with a good coaching staff willing to keep improving his game. He'd love to play in New York for sure. He grew up in Manhattan."

Brickley, who has trained Cole since he was 16, continued: "Over the years, Knicks would draft guys from the New York area, and it hasn't gone well off the court. He's got two really good parents who kept his head on straight. They always told him what was right and wrong. If the Knicks draft him, I don't think you have to worry off the court."

Anthony declared for the 2020 NBA draft on April 17 after one season at North Carolina:

Cole Anthony @The_ColeAnthony

🤞🏽 https://t.co/hozBVTBHet

The former 5-star point guard was limited at UNC because of a partially torn meniscus in his right knee that required arthroscopic surgery in mid-December. Anthony returned to game action Feb. 1 after missing more than a month.

Despite his injury, Anthony finished as the Tar Heels' leading scorer with 18.5 points per contest while also leading the team in assists (4.0) and steals (1.3) across 22 games (20 starts). North Carolina had an uncharacteristic 14-19 campaign, marking the first sub-.500 season since Roy Williams took over as head coach in 2003.

"My take is you had a UNC team not very strong, and he was put in a no-win situation," Brickley told Berman. "When I hear he had a bad personal season, I shake my head. He ended the season second-leading scoring freshman in the country. He figured out a way against defenses that were geared toward him. He was the only best option on the team. It wasn't an easy situation for him."

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected Anthony to land with the Knicks at No. 6 overall in his March mock draft.

Berman previously reported in mid-February that New York's scouting department "has been instructed the top priority is a scoring point guard on whom to use their lottery pick."

Anthony's difficult experience at UNC is especially interesting when considering how he would fit in with the chronically fractured Knicks. He knows what it's like to shoulder the pressure of leading an underwhelming roster.

The Knicks selected guard RJ Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick in 2019, but Barrett has struggled to translate his scoring ability to the NBA thus far after living in the shadow of rookie top overall pick Zion Williamson in 2018-19.

Anthony could be a complement to Barrett and at least begin to lead the Knicks forward in what has been a stagnant rebuilding process.   

New York has not made the postseason since 2013.