Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Knicks begin mining for gold
The Knicks announced they will begin their pre-draft workouts on Friday morning, with one very interesting name -- and another interesting character -- on the first schedule.
BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, who is from the state championship town of Glens Falls, NY, and Allen Iverson clone Bobby Maze of Tennessee will be at the MSG Training Center.
Fredette is currently projected by DraftExpress to be an early second-round pick, which is right where the Knicks (38th and 39th overall) will first be on the clock. The 21 year old averaged 22.1 points and 4.7 assists per game in 34 gams this season and shot 45.8 percent from the field and 44 percent from downtown.
The 6-2 point guard who put on some dazzling offensive shows this season (including 49 points against Arizona in December) is a natural fit for Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system. But there have been reports that the junior, who hasn't signed with an agent, has merely declared for the draft just to experience the pre-draft workouts and let NBA teams get to know him. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Fredette's older brother said exactly that.
"If there's not something real concrete on the table," T.J. Fredette told the newspaper, "he will pull out and come back for his senior year."
Second-round money isn't good money. But the chance to play for the Knicks and in D'Antoni's system, not to mention close to home, might be enticing enough, as long as the Knicks believe he can make the roster in training camp. Second-round picks are not guaranteed anything and despite his offensive talents, Fredette's main issues are if he can compete athleticially -- especially on defense -- at the NBA level.
Here is a highlight video someone made of Fredette from YouTube.
As for Maze, well, he didn't have a dynamic college career but during his cornrow days his physical likeness to Iverson was obvious, though his game is hardly as accurate. Maze, a 6-3 point guard, does love the up-tempo style and perhaps could be looked at as a late bloomer. His career has meandered so far, starting with being an AAU teammate with Kevin Durant and Ty Lawson in 2005 on the D.C. Blue Devils.
The Maryland native then committed to Oklahoma, but then broke his foot before his freshman season. He played some at the end of the season, but then Sooners coach Jeff Capel dismissed him from the team for what has been said to be maturity issues such as not taking care of his school work and other attitude issues. He went to a junior college for the 07-08 season and then planned to transfer to his hometown school, Maryland, for the 08-09 season. Once again there were issues and Gary Williams took back the scholarship offer before he even got to school.
He was still recruited by several major schools, including St. John's, and he decided to choose Tennessee.
This past season, Maze averaged 9.4 points and 3.1 assists for the Vols, who lost to Michigan State in the Midwest Regional Final. Maze blew a kiss to someone in the crowd before he hit his two free throws with 12.9 seconds left in Tennessee's 76-73 win over Evan Turner and Ohio State in the regional semifinal.
Of the items I've found on Maze, none are more entertaining than this video of him professing his adoration for Tennessee.