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. — One veteran NBA scout said he kept waiting and waiting for Yancy Gates to realize his potential during his time at Cincinnati.
And he never did.
“I kept waiting and kept waiting and that’s all I did, was wait for Yancy to come around and he never did,” the NBA scout told SNY.tv.
“I expected him to kick ass and take names and he didn’t do it.”
Gates was one of several players to work out for the Knicks Tuesday, along with former Memphis wing Wesley Witherspoon, former Texas guard J’Covan Brown, former Gonzaza center Robert Sacre, former Mississippi State guard Dee Bost and former New Mexico State forward Troy Gillenwater, who left the workout midway through complaining of stomach problems. The workouts were closed to the media.
The Knicks, who pick at No. 48 in the second round, are in need of another big and another point guard.
“We have two guards who are restricted free agents, so we’ll be able to retain them,’’ Knicks GM Glen Grunwald said last week of Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields. “The question is then how we fill out the rest because Baron [Davis] suffered a pretty bad injury and he’s not going to be able to play next year. And Shump [Iman Shumpert] is going to be out a bit recovering from his injuries. We’re going to have to see if we can upgrade the rest of the roster while Shump is out.”
Despite the knocks on him, the 6-foot-9 Gates believes he could contribute to the Knicks’ frontcourt.
“Looking at the Knicks roster, I think I can come in, kind of be that guy that…can get a lot of garbage buckets, maybe guard different people,” Gates said. “Just try to do different things. Some things don’t show up on the stat sheet, but it’s a big part of winning.”
Gates said he’s currently weighing 270 and wants to get down to 260 or 265, but believes he could play some center in addition to power forward.
“Oh yeah, definitely, I think I could because of my strength,” said Gates, who is projected as the No. 72 best prospect in the NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com. “I’m big enough to be able to guard and hold a center off.”
Gates averaged 12.2 points and 8.9 rebounds last season at Cincinnati, but comes from a defensive-oriented program at Cincinnati, which is something the Knicks need under coach Mike Woodson.
“That’s how we played at Cincinnati,” he said. “We relied on playing defense and usually it proved to help us win. So playing for a defensive-minded coach would find right into what I’m used to.”
The 6-1 Brown is a combo guard out of Texas ranked No. 46 by DraftExpress.com. He was the Longhorns’ leading scorer at 20.1 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc, but he conceded, “I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I wanted to” with the Knicks.
The Knicks need a point guard to pair with Lin, and Brown said he’s capable of playing multiple guard spots even though he’s more of an off guard.
“I can play the one, two or three but wherever coach puts me, I’m willing to play it,” he said.
As for guarding both guard spots, Brown said, “I feel like I can. Gotta get quicker and smarter on the defensive end.”
Brown still has a workout with the Minnesota Timberwolves and has already worked out for the San Antonio Spurs and at the Nets’ combine.
The 6-8 Witherspoon is a long, athletic wing who averaged 7.2 points and 3.7 rebounds last season.
Like Brown, he said he didn’t shoot as well as he would’ve liked for the Knicks’ brass but believes he’s a versatile player who can defend multiple positions.
“Being able to guard different positions, being able to do different things in transition offensively,” said Weatherspoon, who suffered a knee injury in December 2010. “Doing the little things, the intangibles.”
Weatherspoon has already worked out for San Antonio, Detroit and at the Nets’ combine.
The veteran NBA scout said he feels the Memphis product may have to pay his dues before he ends up on an NBA roster.
“He’s a talented guy who’s helathy and has a long, hard road ahead of him,” the scout said. “I think he’ s going to have to go through the minor leagues.”
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.