For Tyson Etienne, it wasn’t just growing up in the area that attracted him to the Knicks. There was also an intimate connection.
Etienne’s godfather is former Knick center Marcus Camby and the relationship makes it feel like blood.
“I call him ‘uncle,’” Etienne said. “He’s that close. If something happened to my parents, I would live with him.”
On Wednesday, Etienne tried to impress the same coach, Tom Thibodeau, who once helped guide Camby to the NBA Finals as an assistant in 1999.
The 22-year-old guard out of Wichita State was part of a group of six prospects to work out for the Knicks at the facility in Tarrytown, joining Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson and Oklahoma’s Jordan Goldwire, among others.
None are considered first-round talent and may go undrafted. But Etienne brings intrigue beyond his New York background – which includes playing AAU for the PSA Cardinals out of the Bronx – and his longstanding Knicks fandom – which frequently brought him to the Garden as a spectator.
Etienne, who is 6-2, was considered a rising prospect and probable draft pick a year ago as the AAC Co-Player of the Year. He tested the draft waters but returned to Wichita State, only to have the team struggle (the Shockers went 15-13) and his 3-point percentage dip from 39.2% to 32.6%.
Etienne’s hoping the pre-draft process, which already included workouts with six NBA teams (Knicks, Nets, Kings, Hawks, Jazz and Celtics), will reinvigorate his stock.
“The predictions for what I was supposed to be coming into this season (with Wichita State) were super high. Then obviously, as a team we didn’t have much success,” Etienne said. “Started out pretty low but the past month, month and a half, I’ve been turning up.”
He also has the benefit of an early view of an NBA career, courtesy of his father’s best friend.
“One thing I’m appreciative of my uncle (Camby) is he never kept me away from the game,” Etienne said. “If my uncle had a game, I’d see him warming up and see what he’d do before a game. I’d see the travel. He was able to open my eyes to that at an early age and it’s really benefited me in my own career.”
The Knicks own the 11th and 42nd picks in this month’s draft. Their 58th pick last year (Jericho Sims) cracked the rotation by the end of the season.
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Source:: The Mercury News