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.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Darius Johnson-Odom says he knows what the Knicks need.
The former Marquette star worked out for the team on Thursday and said he was more concerned with bringing intensity on the defensive end than with showing his offensive skills to head coach Mike Woodson and company.
“I know what the Knicks need so I came with a defensive mindset,” DJO told SNY.tv. “With Iman [Shumpert] being out, with Baron [Davis] being out, with them being low on guards, I know if can just get in and play hard for six or seven minutes defensive-wise then that’s all I need to do.”
A natural two guard, DJO averaged 18.5 points and 3.5 rebounds last season for a Marquette team went 27-8 overall, 14-4 in the Big East and lost to Florida in the Sweet 16.
With Shumpert sidelined until December or January with a torn ACL, DJO is hoping the Knicks might use their No. 48 pick on him with the idea that he might be a similar kind of physical, defensive-stopper on the wing. DraftExpress.com calls him the No. 47 prospect in the Top 100 this year.
The Knicks enjoyed great success this season with another Marquette product when Steve Novak led the NBA in 3-point efficiency. Still another Marquette product, Dwyane Wade, went off for 41 points when the Miami Heat ousted the Indiana Pacers in Game 6 of their series Thursday night.
The Knicks have auditioned a slew of point guards this week, including Tu Holloway (Xavier), Scoop Jardine (Syracuse) and Scott Machado (Iona).
“[Shumpert] is a little bit taller than me,” said the 6-2 DJO. “I think we do have athletic ability, the effort he plays on defense. That’s all I can give you.
“I can give you a couple points here but whatever I have to do to help the team that’s what I’m wiling to do. I feel like defense is something that the Knicks will need here with Iman being out.”
DJO has already worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers and at the Nets free-agent combine and still plans to attend the Minnesota Timberwolves combine, a workout with the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Pre-Draft combine before other individual workouts.
DJO remains in constant touch with Marquette coach Buzz Williams for support.
“He always texts me, ‘Did you guard anybody today?'” DJO said. “And I always tell him, ‘Just a little bit,’ knowing I did a little bit better than ‘just a little bit.’ That’s one of the things coach Buzz is always pushing me to be, a defensive player with my athletic ability and my strength and my speed. I should be a top defensive player.”
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.