Knicks work out Luke Petrasek, Columbia center and East Northport native
Luke Petrasek is one step closer to playing basketball professionally.
The Northport and Columbia graduate worked out for the Knicks Tuesday, his first NBA pre-draft workout, and will work out for Sacramento Wednesday, his agent, BJ Bass of Roslyn-based RBA Sports, said.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek ran Tuesday’s workout.
“This whole pre-draft process is very exciting,” Petrasek, 22, said. “I’m thankful to get the opportunity to show teams what I’m capable of. I did grow up a big Knick fan, so it was a great experience to be able to work out for them today.”
Petrasek, a former Newsday All-Long Island First Team honoree, led Northport to the 2013 Long Island Class AA Championship. As a senior at Columbia, the 6-10 forward averaged 15.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He shot 37.1 percent from three-point range.
Petrasek said he has focused his training on improving his strength, ballhandling and ability to create his own shot since Columbia’s season ended in March.
The East Northport native worked out Tuesday with South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell, Florida’s Canyon Barry, Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe, Colorado’s Derrick White and Duke’s Amile Jefferson, Bass said.
“[Petrasek] reminds me of [former Chicago Bulls player] Toni Kukoc,” said Jim Engles, who took over as Columbia’s coach last year. “He’s a big, 6-10, rangy athlete who can shoot it. He can dribble it. When I first saw him play, I was really excited. I said to my assistant, man, this kid’s got a lot of talent.”
He also has basketball in his blood. His grandfather, Connie Simmons, played 10 professional seasons, including five with the Knicks (1949-54).
Even if the 230-pound Petrasek does not follow his grandfather to the NBA, he is confident his well-rounded skill set will at least land him a contract overseas. But for the time being, he is focused on proving he belongs at the highest level.
“I feel like it’s every young kid’s dream to make it to this point,” he said, “but right now it feels like it’s the closest it’s ever been.”