The Westchester Knicks’ fifth season was one to remember. The Knicks continued to show to be one of the top developmental organizations, while seeing three players earn four NBA call-ups and preparing their players for the next level. Many players rewrote the franchise’s record book. Westchester picked up their first postseason victory. With that being said, what were the top five moments of the 2018-19 season?
5. Representing USA For FIBA World Cup Qualifying Team
Westchester was represented in each qualifying action. Isaiah Hicks said it was a great experience playing with Team USA in September and it was an honor to play under Jeff Van Gundy. John Jenkins was excited to compete with the squad in November and stated it’s every kid’s dream to play for Team USA. Stephen Zimmerman was excited to join the February team and was waiting to put the USA uniform on again. Not only did it mean a lot for each player to compete with Team USA, but each Knick played a role in assisting the squad to qualify for the FIBA World Cup.
4. Altering Franchise History Book
The Westchester Knicks completed their fifth season as the New York Knicks’ affiliate when the 2018-19 season concluded. As the seasons have progressed, several players wrote their names in the franchise’s record book.
Here are some of the records that were changed during the 2018-19 season:
- Seven game winning streak (longest in franchise history)
- 56 point win over Wisconsin Herd (largest margin of victory in franchise history)
- John Jenkins becomes first Westchester Knick with multiple 40 point games (40 against Long Island Nets on Mar. 14, 2017 and 41 against Lakeland Magic on Nov. 10, 2018)
- Stephen Zimmerman (20) and Jameel Warney (19) have top two individual rebounding games in franchise history
- Kadeem Allen becomes second Westchester Knick to record triple-double (along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes)
- Billy Garrett becomes first tryout player to earn NBA call-up
- Billy Garrett became the third Knick (DaJuan Summers and Trey Burke) to be named Player of the Week
- Isaiah Hicks (tied for second with 15) and Zak Irvin (seventh with 10) move up on franchise’s all-time double-double list
- Billy Garrett moved up to No. 1 in total games played (101) and total points scored (1,437); Paul Watson sits in at No. 2 (98) in games played
3. First Playoff Victory
There aren’t many times where a team can do something for the first time. The 2018-19 Westchester Knicks will be known as the first Westchester team to win a postseason game. After securing home court in the first round, the Knicks hosted the Windy City Bulls. Westchester’s defense came out strong to start the game by holding their opponents to 12 first quarter points.
Billy Garrett (20 points and 12 assists), Jameel Warney (19 points and 14 rebounds), and Zak Irvin (19 points and 14 rebounds) finished with double-doubles. Westchester head coach Mike Miller praised Paul Watson’s defense in terms of switching him on Walter Lemon and Mychal Mulder. The 95-82 victory will always be remembered as the team’s first postseason win.
Coming off a season where Westchester produced five NBA call-ups, which was tied for the most during the 2017-18 season, the team continued that trend in the 2018-19 season. Kadeem Allen added his name to Westchester’s call-up banner when he signed a two-way deal with the New York Knicks.
Sixteen days later, John Jenkins earned two call-ups; his first one came with the Washington Wizards then he signed with New York. Four days after the Dub Knicks’ season came to an end, Billy Garrett became the team’s tenth overall call-up when he inked a 10-day contract with the Knicks.
1. Readiness For NBA
For the second consecutive season, the Westchester Knicks continued to prepare players for the NBA. In the previous years, those players were Damyean Dotson and Luke Kornet. Last season, it was Kadeem Allen, John Jenkins, and Billy Garrett. After being promoted to the NBA, Allen displayed the same tenacity on defense, was able to get to his spots, and finish strong at the rim.
Coach David Fizdale praised what Allen brought to the team, along with Westchester bringing him along and helping him improve his game.
“He’s a tough little runt,” Fizdale said (h/t Chris Iseman of Bergen Record). ”I love him. I really do. He fits my personality. He’s a grimy kid. He’s really worked his way to where he’s at. He keeps getting better and better. I think just overall, our G-League and coaching staff has just done an excellent job of bringing him along and improving his game in increments.”
John Jenkins provided scoring for the Knicks upon arriving with the team. He recorded 14 points and five rebounds on 6-of-13 shooting from the field in his second game with the team. Jenkins averaged 10.3 points per game on 53.8 percent from the field in his final four games of the season. Fizdale liked the skills Jenkins brought to the Knicks, along with how he blended in well with the team.
“Obviously we need shooting and that’s one thing he really does well,” Fizdale. (h/t By Howie Kussoy of the New York Post) “What I’ve already gotten to see and really like about him is he really works at his game, super smart, coachable, and he’s already blended in well with the team. Guys have already embraced him. I’m really happy for him that he’s gonna be with us the rest of the year.”
When Billy Garrett jumped into the line-up late in the season, he was familiar with what the team was running and him being familiar with several of the players. In a post game interview with Rebecca Haarlow of the MSG Network, he noted that he played with several of the players in Westchester and Summer League. Having that familiarity with the roster can help a player make a transition to the NBA.
The Westchester Knicks have shown to be a valuable asset to their NBA affiliate. The Dub Knicks have continuously prepared players for the next level, so expect that trend to continue in the coming years.