Kentucky's John Calipari visits Knicks camp as part of recruiting swing | Zagsblog
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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.
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Tuesday / August 3.
  • Kentucky’s John Calipari visits Knicks camp as part of recruiting swing

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    Kentucky coach John Calipari became the latest high-profile visitor to Knicks training camp on Thursday.

    The visit was part of a busy day for Calipari in the New York area. He tripped to Archbishop Stepinac in nearby White Plains on Thursday afternoon and offered a scholarship to Class of 2021 forward A.J. Griffin, the son of Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin. Calipari then spent the evening recruiting at Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, which features 6-foot-11 dunking machine Cliff Omoruyi.

    The Knicks feature two of Calipari’s former players in second-year forward Kevin Knox and freeagent addition Julius Randle.

    Calipari sat with Knicks President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry and also chatted with coach David Fizdale. Fizdale has said the team purposely added players with winning DNA from programs like Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Arizona.

    “I’m taking advantage of that,” Fizdale said of Calipari, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post. “We don’t have him here for long. But to have a guy like that with that kind of brain and understanding of the game, it’s good to talk ideas with. [Calipari has] very good knowledge of two of our players. We invited him to camp and he couldn’t make it to camp, but he said, don’t you worry, I’m going to come visit you guys when I come to New York. Sure enough, he lived up to his word.”

    Randle said he got “a little juice” from seeing his former coach, and that Kentucky was “the start of it all for me.”

    Knox said last week he liked having a second Kentucky guy on the roster.

    “Kentucky’s always family,” he said. “That’s one thing when you go there. Everywhere you go you’ll always find some Kentucky family. It’s good to have him in here. I’ve been getting some shots up with him, talking to him, trying to learn some new things – offensively and defensively. It’s great to have another Kentucky player on the team.”

    Fizdale has made a habit of inviting college coaches and other basketball people to camp and practices. Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, a former Knicks ball boy, Columbia’s Jim Engles, and former Kentucky and St. John’s assistant Barry “Slice” Rohrssen were at camp last week.

    Ben Wallace spoke to the team Thursday, and former Knicks legend Bernard King was at camp last week, mentoring rookie R.J. Barrett of Duke.

    Fizdale asked Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to come to camp, as I first reported on, but Coach K so far has been unable to make it.

    Both Coach K and Calipari will be at Madison Square Garden for the Champions Classic on Nov. 5 when Kentucky faces Michigan State and Duke meets Kansas.

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    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.