WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Dozens of NBA hopefuls looking to live out their dream laced up and took their game to Ardsley on Saturday as they attempted to make the cut with the Westchester Knicks.
House of Sports was the place to be for hoops stars and fans alike, as the Knicks sought to bolster their roster with some hometown flavor during an open tryout in front of some of the D-League affiliate’s top brass.
For a $150 fee, nearly 100 of the area’s top players showed off their skills in a series of drills and exercises designed by Westchester Knick officials.
General Manager Allan Houston, a Knicks legend in his own right, said that they were hopeful of finding some talent in the deep pool of players that showed up to the tryout.
“It’s exciting," Houston said. "You get to see people start living out their dreams. Not everyone will get there, but it’s good training for everyone. It’s only one day here, but it’s my experience that we’ll have enough and see enough to get an idea (of the player’s abilities).”
The Westchester Knicks, formerly the Erie BayHawks who were an affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers – will serve as a feeder club for the professional squad an hour south. As the roster is currently constituted, it will be loaded with undrafted former college stars, players with the potential to reach the NBA and former professional and international players that need fine tuning before they can benefit the parent club.
Houston said that he has worked closely with the pro club, and has already begun reaping the benefits of having 13-time NBA champion Phil Jackson running the ship as president.
"What’s great about (working alongside Jackson) is how he manages his personality and just talking to him about basketball,” he said. “(I’ve learned) that to develop a player you have to know who they are as a person first.”
The county has been quick to embrace the Westchester Knicks, who continue preparing for their inaugural season calling the Westchester County Center in White Plains home. They selected 16 players in the expansion draft, and hope that some of the local talent will earn an invitation to training camp.
“A lot of people from Westchester have supported us, there’s been a lot of talk in the community about how excited they are, because they can’t get to Madison Square Garden, but want to watch basketball,” Houston said. “Hopefully we have some players on the team that can be a part of the Westchester community.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.