While Knicks pre-draft prospect Cory Joseph is still agent-free, another one, Greg Smith, has already signed with a rep. The sophomore center was the top rebounder (8.1 per game) and second-leading scorer (11.7 points per game) this past season for Fresno State (Queens-born and former NBA player Rafer Alston's alma mater).
Smith, who's projected as a mid to late second-rounder, loves to play paintball, which the Knicks weren't too fond of during the regular season. They ranked 18th-worst in points in the paint per game (40.9), tied for 20th-worst in second-chance points per game (12.4) and tied for 20th-worst in rebounds per game (40.5). Although Smith wants to pack on a few more pounds this summer, one scout said that he's currently big enough and strong enough to play in the league (The Fresno Bee).
After I interviewed Joseph this morning at the MSG Training Center, I spoke with Smith. Read on.
So how was the workout, first of all?
It was great. It was a good feel. There are a lot of words I could say right now for the workout. It was good playing in the New York Knicks' training facility. I went out there and played hard. I gave them 100 percent and I just tried to show them that I wasn't tired. I wanted to show that I don't get fatigued, but I have a motor, and I can just keep going and going and going. So it was a good thing for me.
During the season the Knicks struggled a bit on the glass, and that's your speciality. What's your mentality on rebounding and how would you help them in that regard?
The things I probably will let the Knicks know that the player they're getting from me is I'm coming in and I'm working hard every day. Put me in the game and I'm going to rebound. I'm not going to be worried about scoring 30 points or this and that. I just want to worry about holding my man and boxing him out and rebounding so we can get the ball and get offense, because I know you have two great scorers. You have Amare and Carmelo, so that helps your offense a lot. So I just want to focus on rebounding and defending, so they know they're getting that from me.
Speaking of Amare and Carmelo, did you get a chance to watch them play together since the trade?
Oh, man. I watched them almost every time they played because the Knicks are great and Amare is one of my favorite players. So I watch him a lot. Watching him and Carmelo together in about 30 games, how much chemistry they got, it was great. That's what great players do. When you get great players, they can build chemistry on your team real fast. It was good watching them.
What do you like about Amare's game? Obviously he's a great shooter from about 15, 20 feet. But what else impresses you about him?
He's an all-around power forward. When he came in the league, he was really athletic, just dunking on everybody. He learned that by the time you get older in the game, you got to expand your game. So now he's just like an all-around player. He can post up, he has right and left jump hooks, he finishes strong above the rim, he can shoot from 15 feet. He's just a great player. He was a good player to watch growing up. He helped me out a lot.
What are some of the things you want to work on to get ready for your rookie season?
Being physical and getting to the front of the rim every time I get the ball -- not try to like fade away from the basket; try to get to the basket every time. It's good to shoot the 15-foot jumpshot, but I think one of the parts of my game that I could get better at and help the team with is getting to the rim and getting to the foul line. And I think just get strong.
Have you gotten a chance to play pickup games against any NBA guys yet?
Nah, not yet. I can't wait to do that because once I do that, I get to figure out how fast the game is and what the tempo is. It would be good during the season to play with those guys.
What's next for you in the pre-draft process?
I'll be in New Jersey on Sunday for the workout and then I have the pre-draft combine in Chicago [from May 20 to 22]. I'm just ready for that.
Outside of basketball, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I'm a video game guy. I play NBA 2K11, that's me. I play all sports games. I play Mortal Kombat. I like going bowling. I like just hanging out and going to the movies with my friends. I just like chillin' with my friends, building chemistry. I'm a goofy guy, a funny guy, so people that hang around me get a laugh. I just like putting smiles on peoples' faces.
What team do you go with in 2K11?
I used to be a Heat guy, but once the Knicks got Carmelo, it was just like I had to pick the Knicks. It's just that the Knicks got that firepower. You got Chauncey at the point, you got Carmelo who can score on each possession, you got Amare who's beastin'. So it's just crazy.
Did you create a version of yourself in the game and put him at center alongside STAT?
Oh yeah, and we won about 60 games [laughs].
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