On Thursday, Beno Udrih blended right into his favorite area for restaurants in New York City, Little Italy, for a casual dinner with his wife, Michelle.
That may not be the case in about three months, when the newest member of the Knicks takes center stage at Madison Square Garden. The 31-year-old point guard also realizes how dedicated the fans are to the team.
"What I like about the Knicks fans is every time I was playing against the Knicks, they actually know basketball," he said.
In Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Udrih, he chatted about his love for Italian food, offseason training, his recent passion for the sport of squash and why he picked No. 18 for his Knicks jersey.
Have you spent any previous leisure time in New York?
"Me and my wife came here and spent one month in New York, but otherwise we just come every year for a couple days, and then during the season when we come and play here."
What are your favorite places to check out?
"I like the Fresh Food Market in Little Italy. It just opened actually. It's very good. I went there [on Thursday]. It's on Mulberry Street. It used to be called the Italian Food Center."
You've got to take your new teammate Andrea Bargnani there.
"Of course, of course. I will definitely do that."
So, outside of Slovenian food, Italian is your go-to?
"Yes and, of course, my mom's [Silva] and the baking of my wife. She bakes a lot for me during the season, but we mostly just eat out. I love it [in NYC] for all the great food. I just don't know any Slovenians restaurants here yet."
Speaking of Andrea, did you know him or Pablo Prigioni from your overseas days?
"I didn't play against Andrea. He was a little younger than me. With Pablo, I played a couple times against him last year. Me and Pablo talked for 15 minutes [by phone this week]. He's a great guy. I've played with a couple Argentinians in my career in the NBA, so I've always liked the Argentinians. They're always great guys, great personalities."
What's your training process like?
"I have my personal coach from back home in Slovenia, Bostjan Kuhar. I do a lot of strengthening, but I do it more with like body weights during movements. I don't do a lot of lifting. I'm going to be [back] here at the end of August, and I'm going to start working out at the [Knicks'] training facility. They are going to bring a couple other guys in, so we can play a little 5-on-5. I think we're all going to be in pretty good shape before training camp."
Anything new you're working on with your game this summer?
"I just want to work on everything. I just want to get ready, physically and mentally for everything, because last year I know the Knicks had some problems with their injuries. So I think we all have to get really ready for this season and try to stay away from injuries."
What sports do you enjoy outside of basketball?
"I like to play squash. I started playing three years ago. It's amazing. It's really intense and stuff, so I really like it. Before that, it was tennis. I loved tennis in the offseason, but now I'm into squash. But in my free time, me and my wife like to go bowling and to dinner."
By the way, what's behind choosing No. 18 for your Knicks jersey?
"I chose No. 18 because I played in Israel before I came to the NBA. I found out that the meaning of No. 18 in Israel is 'life.' To me, it means basically a new opportunity in my life, a new chapter. I chose No. 18, too, because my nickname is '1B.' So if put them together, it's No. 18."
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