GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Butler junior point guard Shelvin Mack knows what he has going against him with the draft approaching -- stats. But the prospect also knows what he has going for him -- wins.
"I don't have a lot of stats to back [my play] up like that," said Mack, who averaged a respectable 16 points per game this past season, but only 3.4 assists. "At Butler, my main job was to win ballgames and I won 87 games in three years. My situation's different, but I wouldn't change anything else for the stats. I had an opportunity that a lot of people wish they had playing in two national championships [in 2010 and 2011], so I'm really not getting into stats. The teams that actually do their research understand what qualities I bring to a team."
Mack was working out for the Knicks on Monday at their practice facility and guarded Duke senior point guard Nolan Smith during 3-on-3 drills. It was the third time they faced each other. They previously went head-to-head in the 2010 NCAA championship game last April in Indianapolis and in a regular-season game this past December in New Jersey at the IZOD Center. Mack said there was a new winner this time around.
"It was great to get out there and play again," said Mack, who mentioned he received a lot of positive feedback during the workout. "He beat me twice before, but I think I got him today."
Mack said he's not only prepared to spearhead the Knicks perimeter-based offense because Butler ran multiple pick-and-roll sets per possession, but also because Chauncey Billups has helped guide him since last summer. They met while Mack and other top college players, including Smith, trained against Team USA in New York City before they traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, for the FIBA World Championship.
"I've talked to Chauncey a lot throughout the process, throughout the season, throughout the draft process," Mack said. "He's a mentor to me. I look up to him. I think it would be a great opportunity for me to learn from him."
Ironically, Mack and Billups are eerily similar players. Mack is 6'3", 215 and Billups is 6'3", 210, and while they both lack leaping ability, their strength allows them to be aggressive slashers. They're also very composed -- in fact, Mack said at Butler "we're not about being on TV every night; we come to win ballgames" -- and they play smart. Mack agrees his basketball IQ is his strongest suit.
"I think I do a great job of reading off the screen-and-roll, knowing when the shooter is open and when the guy is rolling to the basket," Mack said. "I think I can help out a lot with that."
Mack said the draft process has been "a dream come true" and he can't wait to play at MSG, no matter what team picks him.
"I played there once in my college career -- lost to Georgetown [in the 2009 Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic]," Mack said. "Hopefully I can change that memory a lot. I'm blessed to be able to play in Madison Square Garden, whether I'm with the Knicks or another team. It's just a great atmosphere."
Last week, Mack worked out for the Jazz, Rockets, Spurs and Bobcats. Up next this week, he's meeting with the Nets and Wizards.
Mack is projected as a late first-rounder.
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