Sheed is the new sound bite in town

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Let's just be clear about one thing: Rasheed Wallace doesn't gravitate to the media. When he's walking toward the locker room in the Knicks' practice facility, where reporters congregate to talk to players, he's not slowing down to say hello or chit-chat.

In fact, on Tuesday when he was asked a question while opening the door to the locker room, he answered it halfway inside, not looking particularly interested in stepping back out at first.

But, when you get Sheed going, he doesn't stop. He's opinionated and wants his message heard -- through the loudness and directness of his voice -- clearly and not misunderstood.

As he says, "I don't sugarcoat stuff."

Here are the highlights from his conversation with the media on Tuesday:

On what he's seeing from the guys in practice: "Determination, hard work. Guys are willing to learn, willing to win -- and to do that, we've all got to be on the same page. And that's what Coach [Mike] Woodson's trying to do, just trying to get us all on the same page in the same book."

On how he's helping out: "I don't have to say too much to the veterans. I don't have to say too much to Jason and Felt and Melo. I mean, they already know what to do. I'm just in the young guys' ears, just trying to be some motivation for them. I let them know that if you do mess up out there, it's not the end of the world; you're going to get subbed, but you've just to make up for that mistake, that's all."

On the traditional ways of Woodson: "Mike definitely has an old-school demeanor. He played in this league himself and he knows what he takes to win. We were together in Detroit. I liked his whole demeanor and his coaching style then with Coach [Larry] Brown. So now here he is, the captain of his own ship, and I'm just trying to be one of his shipmates, that's all."

On the Knicks' level vs. the East's top teams, the Heat and Celtics: "We're already there. I mean, granted I think the only thing that held this team back last year really was injuries. I don't think at any point you had the whole team healthy, except probably in the beginning. Right now, everybody's good, everybody's on the same page, everybody's healthy [Wallace knocks on the hardwood], so we've just got to keep it how it is."

On what he was watching during his time off: "I was mainly more interested in college. To me, it seemed like in college ball, guys are more hungry. It's for a different circumstance when you're talking about playing for money and playing for heart. I'm not saying that guys in the NBA don't play for heart, but once you get that money, you're under a different mindset. But when you're trying to get there, and get on this level to play with some of the greatest athletes in the world, you're more hungry."

On Vegas odds picking the Nets over the Knicks: "I don't care about no Vegas odds, because you know why? All those guys who are making those bets and making those odds, they're not out there on that hardwood. So you can't say that."

On former UNC teammate Jerry Stackhouse now in Brooklyn: "I talk to Stack here and there. That's my man. There's no rivalry because we both went to UNC."

On what New York fans will appreciate about him: "That I'm me. I don't sugarcoat stuff. I don't beat around the bush. If I feel something, I'm going to come out and say it. Bottom line."

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