Kenny Garner is a college student and writer for our St. John's blog, Rumble In The Garden. He's traveling abroad this semester, and he had a chance to sit down with French big man Louis Labeyrie, whose draft rights are owned by the Knicks. Check it out! - Seth
KG: Describe your experience getting drafted by the Knicks.
Louis Labeyrie: It was the most beautiful experience I have ever lived in my life. I met the Knicks organization and went to Madison Square Garden and the campus in Westchester. It was fabulous. It is an elite way of life.
KG: Did you have an opportunity to sit down with Phil Jackson when you were drafted? What was that experience like for you meeting a legend?
Labeyrie: Yeah I met he and Steve Mills. When I met Phil Jackson first I was surprised, even when they drafted me. It was exciting to hear his voice and meet him. He told me great stuff and what I need to work on. He said the NBA game is very different from Europe. Mentally be ready to sometimes play and sometimes sit out.
KG: Are you in touch with the Knicks? Do you plan to play in the Summer League?
Labeyrie: This summer I might do both Summer Leagues because as you know they might do two teams, one in Orlando and one in Las Vegas*. I plan to get back at it.
*I have heard the same. - Seth
KG: Your three point shot looks like it has improved a lot. Is that something you really have been working on?
Labeyrie: That was something I didn't have a few years ago. The last three years I have been working on it and coaches want me to shoot those types of shots. I am shooting with a lot of confidence right now."
KG: Is there one aspect of your games that you are focused on improved right now?
Labeyrie: I am working on driving to the basket more and I am working on improving my basketball IQ. In Europe you need a high basketball IQ.
KG: I have heard a lot of comparisons of your game to Ronny Turiaf. What do you think about those comparisons?
Labeyrie: You are not the only one saying that. You know it is funny because last summer when I went to New York, I met him in the airport. I told him to enjoy his New York trip and that he was the best."
KG:Is there one player that plays in the NBA right now that you really look up to or try to model your game after?
Labeyrie: There are a couple of guys. Kevin Garnett is one. On the Knicks I look at Carmelo the way he scores and Porzingis, the way he stretches the floor.
KG: Do you plan to play for the French national team and help them qualify for the Olympics?
Labeyrie: "I would be glad to play for the national team if they invite me. For every guy in this country it is a huge pride to be apart of the team. If they invite me even for the twenty player roster, I will be there."