Jared Jeffries doesn't want to play for any other team but the Knicks next season. In fact, he'd "hate to leave New York now."
The backup center shared those sentiments with ESPN New York by phone on Wednesday from Bloomington, Ind., where he played college ball and currently hosts a summer basketball camp for kids, ages nine to 13.
"I know that the Knicks are interested. I love New York," he said. "I'm still proud that I've been part of back-to-back playoffs. I feel like we made improvements this year as a team. That's my ultimate goal. I want to improve, I want to get better. I want to be on a winning team, and I think we have a chance to do that.
New York Knicks
"I feel like I've been through so much and we've been so close. I want to do as much as I can to get better."
Jeffries' camp, which is now in its 10th year, takes place at a private facility that he actually helped purchase through a fundraiser four years ago. The center includes a basketball court, indoor soccer field and weight room. Five hundred kids are currently attending the camp; Jeffries raised about $5,000 for those who couldn't afford the costs.
When Jeffries isn't involved with the camp, he's been spending four days a week working out, four days a week rehabbing his right knee, which was giving him problems towards the end of the season, and two days a week hooping.
On Thursday, he's leaving for a nine-day fishing trip off the coast of Port Vila in the South Pacific, but when he returns, he wants to focus on re-signing with the Knicks. Speaking of fishing, Jeffries' favorite pastime, he's planning a deep-sea trip with Jeremy Lin, who recently caught a marlin in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in late July when the point guard finishes playing with the USA Men's Select Team in Las Vegas.
Jeffries said he's been watching the NBA playoffs, and the biggest thing he's taken away from how the Heat and Thunder have reached the ultimate stage, the Finals, is their effort level.
"Those guys play so hard," he said. "They're probably two of the most deep, young teams in the league. I mean, you look at the Heat being old, but they're not 30 yet. LeBron [James] is not 30, [Chris] Bosh isn't even 30. They're just playing at a high level."
That effort is what the Knicks showed over the last 24 games of the season under Mike Woodson, when they went 18-6. They'll have to continue that on defense, as well as execute better as a team on offense, to climb in the East in 2012-13.
Stay tuned for a whole lot more on Jeffries' fishing adventures.
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