Westchester Knicks Look to Build on Last Season’s Success

The two-week Training Camp for the Westchester Knicks will be coming to a close this week at the MSG Training Facility. Their season will begin on Saturday, November 9th at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. The Westchester Knicks are part of the G League, the official minor league basketball organization of the NBA, and are the affiliate of the New York Knicks. The MSG Training Facility located in Tarrytown, houses the training facilities for the New York Knicks, the Rangers, and the WNBA’s New York Liberty in addition to the Westchester Knicks. Despite the number of teams that utilize this space, it is a nondescript building nestled off of Old Saw Mill River Road nestled within the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals campus.

While the outside of the training complex is quiet, the inside is bustling with the Westchester Knicks training camp that began on October 28th. Last season the team ended the regular season with a 29-21 record and won their first-ever playoff victory against the Windy City. However, they were eliminated in the Conference Semifinals by the Lakeland Magic.

The team is hoping to build off last season’s accomplishments with new head coach Derrick Alston at the helm. Alston, born in the Bronx, played professionally for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks, and has been an Assistant Coach for the team since 2015. He succeeds former coach, Mike Miller, who recently joined the New York Knicks’ coaching staff.

In addition, the team added Lisa Willis as an Assistant Coach, where she will be the first female coach in Knicks franchise history. Willis, a California native, played for UCLA and was named the nation’s best defender in her senior year. She was drafted in 2006 by the Los Angeles Sparks, and finished the last two years of her playing career with the New York Liberty. When asked what she is hoping to bring to the team, Willis commented that she hopes “to be a positive influence for the guys, and to help them grow both on and off the court”. She is looking to not only help them develop their talent, but also aid them into becoming professionals. Whether someone gets called up to play in the NBA, or doesn’t, Willis wants to ensure that her players are prepared to handle the tribulations that come with playing minor league basketball.

Aside from the coaching staff, the Westchester Knicks also have a team of talented young athletes. Among them is 21 year old, Kenny Wooten. Wooten joined the team after two-years at the University of Oregon. While playing in Oregon, Wooten finished third in career shot blocking with 169. It was this skill that caught the eye of the New York Knicks while Wooten was playing in the Summer League. After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, Wooten committed to playing in Vegas this past July. There, he lead the league with 17.6 percent block percentage, and the New York Knicks offered him an Exhibit 10 deal, which guarantees him $50,000 if he is cut from the New York Knicks roster, so long as he plays 45 days with the Westchester Knicks. At nearly 6’9”, Wooten exudes charismatic energy both on and off the court. Growing up near the Bay Area in Manteca, CA, Wooten is looking forward to the cold weather and getting to experience all the seasons. While he states that he hasn’t had time to explore much outside of his apartment in White Plains, so far he is enjoying the quiet that Westchester offers compared to city.

The Westchester Knicks will kick off their season Saturday, November 9 at 7:00pm against the Canadian team, the Raptors 905, at the County Center in White Plains. Schedule and ticket information are available HERE.

Between the new coaching additions, and the young talent, the Westchester Knicks should be an exciting team to watch this season, as they hope to improve on last year’s one-and-done playoff result.

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About the Author: Samantha Jambor