Among the many things you’re responsible for doing as a member of sports media, there are fewer things more unpredictable than choosing which players you believe will be good or bad. Just think about it. One’s ability to rightfully or wrongfully predict a player or coach’s potential on their current or next level can “make or break” a career. But with that said, I feel really good about this one player, whom I’ve been covering for a while now.
Coming from Chicago, Illinois, Westchester Knicks guard Billy Garrett has established himself as the next, legitimate call up from the NBA’s G-League. Following his collegiate playing career at DePaul University, which included winning Big East Freshman of the Year, Garrett’s arrival to the W-Knicks has been nothing short of good.
First of all, the 6-foot-6 guard has proven to be a versatile and efficient player. Secondly, he made history this season by becoming the W-Knicks’ all time leading scorer. And last but not least, Garrett is averaging career best numbers in almost every category, while being a vital part of the W-Knicks’ playoff push (They’re two games out of the No. 1 seed).
I spoke with Garrett following the team’s win over Grand Rapids Drive on Friday, February 22nd.
Arden: How do you guys feel after winning consecutive games following the All-Star break?
Billy: We feel very good, especially at this point of the season. Whenever you’re coming back from All-Star break, you have to worry about having a lapse and losing your rhythm. But we figured out a way to win and we’re building upon our momentum entering this critical stretch.
A: In your career so far, what have been your greatest lessons learned about yourself and the W-Knicks?
B: That’s it all about perseverance. We’ve been through our share of up’s and down’s, but I’m happy with how we stuck together and handled the cards we were dealt. It’s honestly, we could all take into our personal lives. And when I look at myself, I take a lot of pride in doing my job, regardless of the circumstances at hand. I just have to do what I have to do.
A: More than ever, you’ve become a huge play-maker and shot maker for the W-Knicks. How do you counter those attacks from opposing defenses?
B: I trust in quite a few things: My ability, my coaching staff, and our game plan. As long as I stick to what works and believe in us, then good things will happen. And I also believe in playing the right way and not forcing the issue. I have to let the game come to me and make smart decisions. It’s a process worth sticking with.
A: Being from Chicago and having seen, played, and contributed to the city’s growth in the basketball world, what makes it so unique?
B: Anybody from Chicago is going to feel a sense of pride being from there, especially on the basketball court. Simply put, Chicago is one of the greatest basketball cities in the world. Every night that I play, I always want to represent the city in the right way, and it’s done with the same focus, I have for the W-Knicks. I enjoy bringing that ruggedness to our team and while people may look at me and not expect it, I always do. It’s a edge, I was given from playing in Chicago and I will never forget that. I love my city to death.
A: Just to end this on a ode to Chicago, you’ve obviously watched Derrick Rose during his entire career, including his brief time as a NY Knick. As a Chicago kid, what did D-Rose’s career do for you and the rest of your generation as young hoopers?
B: Man, it’s crazy to even think about, since Coach Bogans (current assistant coach for the W-Knicks) actually played with Rose in Chicago and we talked about that a lot. But in all seriousness, D-Rose is a god to us Chicago kids. To do what he did, such as take over the league and win MVP, was very impacting on our lives and it showed, you can do anything.
We saw his entire journey from playing in high school at Siemon (Career Academy), to going to college, and then making the NBA. You honestly can’t say anything bad about D-Rose to people from Chicago, cause they’ll get ready to fight you (laughs). But for real, I love D-Rose and will never forget what he did for me and anybody else from the city. I’ve been watching that man since I was 10-years-old and saw him up close and personal. In terms of basketball, D-Rose can’t do no wrong in my book.