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Isaiah Canaan sees opening with Knicks and wants to take it

Murray State guard Isaiah Canaan soars to the

Murray State guard Isaiah Canaan soars to the basket as Colorado State guard Wes Eikmeier pursues during the second half of an NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game in Louisville, Ky. (March 15, 2012) Credit: AP

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Isaiah Canaan had never been to New York, so when the Murray State product looked out of the window as his flight made its approach to Manhattan the other day, he had that same feeling that nearly everyone experiences.

He was floored by the breathtaking skyline that's unlike any other in the world. The bright lights of the Big Apple left that indelible imprint on the 5-11, 188-pound NBA hopeful.

"I flew in at nighttime and that was one of the best things I've seen," Canaan, 22, said Wednesday after a predraft workout with the Knicks at their training facility. "I was amazed just flying in at nighttime."

Pegged as a second-round pick in this month's upcoming draft by most, Canaan is hoping to bring a certain wow factor of his own, something he'll try to exhibit during the travels that'll have him working out for teams coast to coast. He's a point guard who was asked to be a heavy scorer at Murray State, and it's not hard to tell he strongly believes he has all the attributes to play at that next level.

"I'm very confident," Canaan said. "Personally, I'm a competitor, so I'm confident I'm going to go in and do what the coach asks me first. If I have to earn my respect, then I'm going to go out there and prove that I belong in the NBA. I'm not going to back down to nobody that's out there and whatever I have to do for my team to win, I'm going to do that and hopefully people will start to figure out where Isaiah Canaan is from."

If it's with the Knicks, Canaan thinks he could fit in right away. With Jason Kidd retiring after 19 seasons earlier this week, the Knicks have a void in the backcourt. Canaan's eyes widened and his smile broadened at the thought of working out under the eyes of Mike Woodson, knowing that he had a legitimate shot at leaving an impression on the Knicks coach.

"It felt real good, especially since Jason Kidd has hung up his shoes," Canaan said. "It's a great opportunity for me personally to showcase that I can come in and play and if they need me right away."

Canaan said he tries to emulate the game of Chris Paul. But really, he'd just love nothing more than to become the next small guard to come from a small school and tear it up. His all-around skill sets, he believes, will allow him to do just that.

"That's one of the aspects of my game that really separates me, that I can shoot the basketball pretty good and create off the dribble and find the open man," Canaan said.

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