Seventeen months ago, Billy Garrett started out his professional journey in the Big Apple. He made the Westchester Knicks’ roster through a team tryout and received an opportunity to start his career in the NBA G League. For Garrett, it’s been humbling to start his career out as a tryout player and accomplish so much.
“It’s humbling to know that I came from an open tryout to being the all-time leading scorer with the franchise,” Garrett told Ridiculous Upside. “It’s something that I think about every day that keeps me going. Keeps me focused. Keeps me locked in. It’s something that I will carry with me throughout my career.”
Garrett came into Westchester with a strong work ethic and high basketball IQ. His effort has been on display for the past two seasons and thrived in every role he was put in. The DePaul product continued by stating the organization means a lot to him due to the opportunity the team provided him.
“Mean a lot. Honestly, because they gave me a chance,” Garrett said. “Not too many people gave me a chance coming out of college. The Westchester Knicks gave me a chance to come in and prove myself and show what I was capable of. I’m forever indebted to them just for that. Like I said, the professional game is really all about opportunity and I got it here and I owe everything to them.”
After a solid rookie season, Garrett joined the New York Knicks for Summer League. As the months on the calendar changed, he was set on his next opportunity.
“The Knicks gave me an opportunity, brought me in, and gave me a chance,” Garrett detailed. “Being here a year already, I felt comfortable. I was thankful that they gave me another chance to come back and play, so I jumped on it as soon as I could.”
During his time in Westchester, the second-year guard has seen his role change often. He went from being the main contributor in the second unit to being one of the focal points on one of the top teams in the G League. He played in 101 games and totaled 1,437 points (most in franchise history) and is second in steals (95) and assists (314).
Through his growth on the court and the records he has achieved, it’s a testament to the chance he received, along with being in a superb organization and surrounded by a great coaching staff.
“It’s just a testament to our coaches working with me giving me a chance and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to stick around here and grow my game,” Garrett said. “It’s an honor being able to play games with a great organization that’s been with me every step of the way helping me improve my game.”
Garrett kept himself locked in as the year changed to 2019. He took his game to another level and became one of the main offensive contributors on the team. The Knicks guard averaged 11.4 points on 37.4 percent shooting from the field in January and saw those numbers rise to 24.1 points and 47.9 percent from the field in February.
He earned the G League Player of the Week for the second week of February and put his name in the conversation for an NBA call-up. Even with the chatter of a promotion to the Association, he silenced the talk by remaining focused and not paying attention to it.
“Just got to stay locked in and don’t change anything,” Garrett said. “The outside talk is something that’s going to happen. You kind of just got to let it go. I don’t pay too much attention to it. At the end of the day, if I wasn’t performing out here then they wouldn’t be talking. I just come out here every day and try to perform and do my job and try to get better and let everything else take care of itself.”
From his first game in November of 2017 to his last game in April of 2019, the second-year guard always took steps forward in his game, while being a significant contributor on the team. Garrett detailed his appreciation for the organization in terms of being invested in his growth and development during his tenure in Westchester.
“I want to come out here and let them know that they made the right decision and giving me a chance and investing time in me,” Garrett said. “New York is a great organization top to bottom. I’m thankful for that and everyday I work to prove them right and let them know that I’m grateful of the opportunity and I’m here to get better.”
After Westchester’s season came to an end, Garrett’s plan was to return home to Chicago, IL. Instead, the second chapter of his career continued. His hard work and consistent improvements catapulted him to his NBA dream.