One player on the New York Knicks' draft radar says it would be a “dream come true” to play for the club.
“It would be amazing to play in Madison Square Garden,” Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead said on Wednesday. “It would be fantastic playing in front of those fans. Hopefully my family could come out. It would be a dream come true.”
Whitehead, a Brooklyn native, is one of several players who worked out for the Knicks over the past few weeks. Whitehead has several fans in the Knicks' organization, including forward Carmelo Anthony. Whitehead has worked out with Anthony at the Knicks star's Terminal 23 gym in Manhattan. Anthony came away from the workouts impressed with the Seton Hall guard, according to people in the gym.
“I was as much of a fan as a basketball player,” Whitehead said at an event to raise money for Top Spin, an organization dedicated to empowering youth via educational opportunities. “It’s not every day that you get to work out with Melo. I got to talk to him about the process, and he answered a lot of questions I had.”
The Knicks don't have a pick in Thursday's draft at this point, but they would like to acquire one. The most likely route for New York to obtain a pick is to buy a second-rounder. The club has approximately $3 million to spend on a pick. And it may cost that much to buy a pick early in the second round.
The Knicks also could attempt to trade for a late first-round pick, though they don't appear to have the assets to do so.
“I think it will be great,” O’Quinn said at the Top Spin event. “I’m sure Melo’s probably excited. Him being excited brings out the best in him. So I think it’s good. I think it’s good for D-Rose, getting a brand new start. And I think it’s good for the organization, considering we had a good year last year and I think adding a guy like Rose, we can go a little bit further.”
Team president Phil Jackson and coach Jeff Hornacek are expected to discuss the Rose acquisition on Thursday evening before the NBA draft.
O'Quinn is entering his second year with the Knicks and figures to have an increased role in 2016-17 as starting center Robin Lopez was dealt to Chicago in the Rose trade.
"Good to venture out" of NYC: O’Quinn and Whitehead were at a New York City hotel on Wednesday to help raise money for the Top Spin Hoops Academy. Funds raised at the event will underwrite a program that places inner-city students at The Hun School, a private school in New Jersey, for a week in August. During that week, students will receive basketball instruction from former NBA players and will participate in off-the-court sessions that discuss conflict resolution and education.
O’Quinn, from Queens, and Whitehead, from Brooklyn, both spoke of the importance of experiencing life outside of the city.
“As talented as kids are and as smart as kids are in the city, public schools are jam-packed” said O’Quinn, who attended Campus Magnet High School in Queens. “So I’m sure that the school out there is less populated and has more individual attention, so kids can really grow.”
Added Whitehead, who starred at Lincoln High School in Coney Island, “I just know a lot of people that can’t afford the right school, so I just wanted to come and help. It’s always good to get out of the city, experience new things and to venture out.”