Hoping to add a bit of Big Apple flavor to the Erie BayHawks, the Knicks’ D-League affiliate hosted open tryouts at Baruch College in New York City on Saturday.
Over 60 participants packed the gym, each one aiming to prove their worth and earn a shot playing professional basketball. With the D-League representing the best chance for young prospects to reach The Association, each player had a simple long-term goal: make it to the NBA.
Knicks Assistant General Manager (and BayHawks G.M.) Allan Houston was present at the tryouts, and he too certainly had his own goals in mind.
The Knicks legend and current executive told KnicksJournal.com that he hoped to help the BayHawks embrace the Knicks’ already present culture and mentality. What’s more, in the interest of bridging the gap between the NBA squad and its D-League affiliate, Houston also said that newly hired BayHawks head coach Gene Cross had already met and talked with Knicks head coach Mike Woodson.
With the Knicks’ roster growing older and older with each acquisition (presumedly for the better, of course), the BayHawks stand to play a vital role in helping the Knicks monitor, grow, and develop young talent.
The idea of the open tryouts is clearly to see if D-League staffs can spot a diamond in the rough or two. That said, when considering the roster in its entirety, Coach Cross said he anticipates having some talent, currently on the Knicks’ training camp roster, joining Erie at some point as well.
With media day to take place Monday and training camp to officially start on Tuesday, the Knicks will bring 20 players into Westchester (should Rasheed Wallace sign by then, as expected). Six of those players will play on non-guaranteed contracts.
As a rule, an NBA team can “protect” up to three players, that they end up cutting from training camp, for their D-League affiliate to sign. Surely the Knicks and BayHawks already seem on the same page, with regard to utilizing such an opportunity.