Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The Knicks will continue their search for a point guard on Monday when they work out Memphis freshman Tyreke Evans and California native Brandon Jennings at their Westchester campus.
Louisville junior forward Earl Clark of Rahway, N.J. will also work out for head coach Mike D’Antoni, as will UConn senior guard Craig Austrie and Gonzaga sophomore forward Austin Daye.
The Knicks hold the No. 8 pick in the June 25 NBA Draft and have already worked out the following point guards: Levance Fields of Pittsburgh, Jonny Flynn of Syracuse, Ty Lawson of North CArolina, Steph Curry of Davidson and Jrue Holiday of UCLA.
Check out Tommy Dee’s point guard list at The Knicks Blog for all your Knicks draft info.
The 6-foot-6 Evans, MVP of last year’s McDonald’s All-American Game, was the consensus National Freshman of the Year. He thrived after former Memphis coach John Calipari moved him to point guard from the wing following a loss to Syracuse that dropped the Tigers to 6-3.
The Tigers won 27 straight before falling to Missouri in a West Regional semifinal.
During the first nine games, Evans averaged 14.8 points and 3.5 assists while looking tentative. Afterward he averaged 17.2 points and 5.1 assists. He led Memphis in scoring (17.1), steals (2.1) and assists (3.9).
The question will be whether Evans’ skill-set can translate to the next level the way that Derrick Rose’s did.
Rose was a pure point guard from Day One, whereas Evans was not. Still, in this weak draft he should be a high lottery pick.
“Like I said to Shawn [Taggart], I told Tyreke to go after his dream, and that is to play at the highest level – the NBA,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. “Tyreke is a talented and gifted player, and I support him 100 percent with his decision to enter his name in the NBA Draft. If there is anything I can do to help him in pursuit of his dream, I’ve told him that I will be there to assist him.”
Jennings (pictured) skipped college in the U.S. and signed a three-year, $1.2 million deal to play in Italy with Lottomatica Virtus Roma. The deal allowed him to opt out after each season.
Jennings deals called for the team to pay for a three-bedroom condo on the outskirts of Rome and for his younger brother, Terrence, to go to the city’s best prep schools. Since Brandon does not have his driver’s license yet, his mom, Alice Knox, shuttled him to and from practice twice a day.
Jennings was a spot-starter, averaging less than ten points a game.
The trailblazing experience was organized for Jennings by Sonny Vaccaro, who told HBO: “I’ve talked to parents of children who are in ninth grade and tenth grade, and some kids who are gonna be seniors this year that are looking at it as an option. I don’t know if anyone else will do it. But they know they have an option. And that’s a good thing.”
Vaccaro is currently negotiating for San Diego High School junior Jeremy Tyler to play overseas, but there was no mass exodus to Europe as some has predicted.
Lance Stephenson of Brooklyn Lincoln has yet to pick a school, but has repeatedly said he won’t play overseas next year.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.