Knicks rookie Miles McBride continues to impress in G League

Knicks photo of Miles McBride dunk

New York Knicks rookie point guard Miles McBride had another solid game in his second G League assignment. But it was not enough as the Westchester Knicks fell short against the Maine Celtics, 110-100, Monday night at Webster Bank Arena.

McBride finished with a G League career-high 28 points highlighted by a thunderous in-your-face slam in the second quarter.

“Just really attacked the rim as hard as I can. I missed a couple of shots, so it’s [letting] frustrations [out],” McBride said of his highlight dunk.

McBride’s frustrations did not go away as the Celtics led by as many as 24 points in the second half. The Knicks blew a 12-point lead in the opening quarter to slide to a 2-6 record.

Not even McBride’s complete line could save them.

The 36th pick of this year’s NBA Draft shot 11 of 25 from the field and made 5 of 12 3s. McBride filled the stats sheet with six rebounds, five assists, three steals, and one block against two turnovers in 41 minutes.

Through two G League games, McBride averages 26.5 points on a 43/33/100 shooting split with 5.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 2.5 steals.

Knicks two-way player, Luka Samanic, continued his explosive scoring acts with a game-high 29 points and nine rebounds. The 21-year old Croatian forward hit 5 of 10 3s and added three assists in 39 minutes.

Samanic scored Westchester’s first 11 points in the fourth quarter as they cut the lead down to 14, 92-78. Back-to-back three-pointers from Tyler Hall, who had 25 points, and McBride brought them within eight, 92-84. It was the closest they could get as former Knick Theo Pinson answered with a three-pointer to restore Maine’s double-digit lead.

The Celtics improved to an East regional pod-leading 7-1 record.

The Knicks will host the winless College Park Skyhawks (0-5) on Thursday.

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Knicks assign Miles McBride to Westchester for the second time

After the New York Knicks dropped Kemba Walker from the rotation, the team also made another point guard move.

The Knicks sent rookie point guard Miles McBride to play for Westchester on Monday night’s game against the Maine Celtics.

The game is set at 7 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

It will mark the second time McBride will play in the G League. Earlier this month, McBride was sensational in his G League debut. The seldom-used Knicks rookie point guard took the most out of the opportunity.

McBride came one assist shy of a double-double providing the jolt for the Westchester Knicks to pick up their first win of the season — a 104-98 victory over Long Island Nets on Nov. 18. He shot 10 of 24 from the field in 41 minutes and only committed three turnovers.

McBride will team up anew with the Knicks’ other two-way player Luka Samanic, the G League’s second-leading scorer. Samanic averages 26.8 points on an efficient 56.9 percent shooting from the floor, including a 39-percent clip from downtown in 30.3 minutes. The 6-10 Croatian forward also norms 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists (against 4.0 turnovers), and 1.5 blocks.

The Westchester Knicks currently hold a 2-5 record in the East.

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Miles McBride dominates in G League debut

New York Knicks rookie Miles McBride made the most out of the opportunity and showed out in a spectacular G League debut.

After playing only four garbage minutes in two games to start his rookie season, McBride proved he belonged to the NBA by stamping his class in the developmental league.

McBride came one assist shy of a double-double providing the jolt for the Westchester Knicks to pick up their first win of the season — a 104-98 victory over Long Island Nets on Wednesday night.

The Knicks rookie guard out of West Virginia scattered 29 points and a game-high nine assists. He added five rebounds and two steals as Westchester won its home opener in its temporary home, snapping a four-game losing skid.

The Knicks affiliate club played at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as the Westchester County Center is currently being used as a COVID-19 vaccination site.

Knicks’ two-way player Luca Samanic was also impressive in his return from a heel injury. The Croatian forward scored 32 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as he and McBride teamed up as Westchester’s 1-2 punch combo.

McBride picked up the pace from the start pouring in nine points and four assists in the opening quarter. His seven-point outburst transformed a one-point deficit into a 25-22 lead, which the Knicks never relinquished.

“I love him, I love him,’’ Thibodeau said of McBride before his Knicks lost to Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden later in the night. “I think it’s important for him to be with us. But every opportunity we get where we can have him play some, we want to try to take advantage of that as well. But he’s got a great future, a great kid, hard worker. And when you come into this league, it’s all about — you’ve got to learn first. And that’s what he’s doing.”

Westchester led by as many as 17 before a spirited Long Island comeback trimmed the deficit to two points at the start of the third quarter.

A Samanic three-pointer off a McBride assist triggered a 10-2 salvo that restored order for the Knicks. McBride punctuated the run with a thunderous dunk as the Knicks grabbed a 72-62 lead with 8:55 left in the third quarter.

“It’s just day-to-day,’’ Thibodeau said. “When we have an opportunity to send him, we’ll send him. I love the proximity of it where it’s right there, and it’s in our building. So I think it’s important for him to be with us in practice and games. But anytime we have a situation where he can do both. Ideally, that’s what we would like to have.

“There will be some [days] where he goes back and forth. I love who he is. He’s a big part of practice every day for us.”

McBride played 41 minutes and only committed three turnovers. He shot 10 of 24 from the field.

Samanic, a waiver pickup after San Antonio Spurs dumped him, played 32 minutes in his return. He added two assists and made 12 of 23 shots.

Aamir Simms backstopped Westchester’s 1-2 punch combo with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Westchester’s next game will be on Nov. 23, a rematch against the Nets at home. It is unclear if McBride will see action again as the Knicks will also host the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden on the same night.

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Knicks bring back controversial guard Myles Powell after waiving Tyler Hall

Former Seton Hall star Myles Powell is back with the New York Knicks as the 20th man on the roster.

The team announced Powell’s signing Tuesday after waiving Tyler Hall. Though terms of the deal were not disclosed, Powell will likely compete for the remaining two-way spot in the roster. Rookie Jericho Sims, the 58th overall pick, is currently slotted in the Knicks’ first two-way slot.

After going undrafted last year, Powell signed a training camp deal with the Knicks but did not make the active lineup. He was relegated to the Knicks’ G League affiliate club in Westchester.

In the G League bubble last season, the 6-foot-2 Powell averaged 17.8 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 13 games, including three starts. His impressive G League play earned him a two-way contract with the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks, but he never saw action.

The Trenton, NJ native was named the 2019-20 Big East Player of the Year and finished his impressive college run as Seton Hall’s third all-time leading scorer. However, the undersized star shooting guard couldn’t parlay his sterling college resume into an NBA career.

In July, he sued his Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard and Tony Testa, a staff member, for misdiagnosing a knee injury during his senior year. He blamed the incident for his unsuccessful NBA Draft, causing severe physical and financial consequences damage.

The suit alleged NBA teams discovered that the ankle injury which bothered Powell in his last year with Seton Hall was actually a lateral meniscus tear to his right knee. Powell continued to play well with the injury but with the help of pain killer medication injected by Testa.

The school responded to the lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss it in August.

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New format awaits Westchester Knicks in G League

jericho sims, knicks

Jericho Sims, the New York Knicks‘ 58th pick in the NBA Draft, will have more games to develop with the Westchester Knicks in the reformatted G League season.

The new G League format will feature two tournaments within the season.  On top of the 36-game regular season, a 14-game expanded Showcase Cup will bring the total games to 50 for each team.

The Showcase Cup tips off on Nov. 5 and will conclude at the annual NBA G League Winter Showcase from Dec. 19-22. Meanwhile, the regular season begins on Dec. 27.

The G League Ignite is the pathway program of the NBA for the top high school prospects who didn’t go the college route.

In the Showcase Cup, the 29 regular teams and the G League Ignite will be divided into four regional pods where they will play 12 games against each other in NBA G League markets.

The teams with the best winning percentage in each regional pod and the next top four teams across the league will advance to the single-elimination NBA G League Winter Showcase.

Team records will reset in the 36-game regular season as the NBA G League Ignite and expansion team Capitanes de la Ciudad de México will only play in the Showcase Cup. The top six teams in each conference will qualify for the NBA G League playoffs.

The Knicks will open their Showcase Cup schedule against Capital City Go-Go in back-to-back road games on Nov. 5 and 6.

Their regular season tips off against the Lakeland Magic in similar back-to-back road games on Dec. 28 and 30.

Sims, who signed a two-way contract with the Knicks, averaged 8.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, one assist, and one block in the NBA Summer League. He shot a staggering 81 percent from the field. As a two-way player, Sims is eligible to join the Knicks’ active roster up to 50 games in the regular season.

Joining Sims in the Knicks’ G League team is former UCLA point guard Jaylen Hands, acquired from the Long Island Nets on Monday. The Knicks sent the returning rights of Bryce Brown to the Nets in exchange for Hands, the 56th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Hands played overseas last season, averaging 8.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks in 12 games for the FMP of the ABA League First Division and Basketball League of Serbia.

MJ Walker and Aamir Simms, who played for the Knicks Summer League team in Las Vegas, will likely join Sims and Hands in the G League. The Knicks signed both Walker and Simms to an Exhibit 10 deal last month.

Walker averaged 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in three games with the Knicks’ Summer League team. On the other hand, Simms posted 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in four games in Las Vegas.

The rest of the Westchester Knicks roster is expected to be announced in the next coming days.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

 

Myles Powell returns to Knicks on a two-way contract

Former Seton Hall star Myles Powell has found his way back to New York.

On Friday, the Knicks announced that they had converted Jared Harper’s two-way contract into a 10-day contract to make a spot for Powell.

The undrafted Powell took Harper’s previous spot as one of the Knicks’ two-way players.

Powell was recently dropped by the Milwaukee Bucks, who signed him to a two-way deal after his solid G League campaign with the Westchester Knicks.

The Trenton, New Jersey native, averaged 17.8 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.8 steals with a 45/45/82 shooting splits in 28.1 minutes in 13 games with the Knicks’ G League affiliate team.

Powell was the 2019-20 Big East Player of the Year and was named to the First Team All-American. But he went undrafted, and the Knicks signed him to an exhibit 10 contract to join their training camp.

Harper is expected to sign a second 10-day contract which will make him part of the Knicks for the rest of the regular season.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Jared Harper named to All-NBA G League First team but still long shot to crack Knicks rotation

New York Knicks’ two-way player Jared Harper was named to the 2021 All-NBA G League First Team on Tuesday.

Harper joined NBA G League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year Paul Reed of the Delaware Blue Coats, Oklahoma City Blue center Moses Brown, Lakeland Magic forward Mamadi Diakite, and Rio Grande Valley Vipers guard Kevin Porter Jr. in the selection.

Brown and Porter Jr. parlayed their outstanding G League performance to a significant role with their respective NBA mother clubs Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.

On the other hand, the 5-foot-10 Harper’s chances of cracking the Knicks’ rotation is slim to none despite a stellar G League campaign.

Harper led the Westchester Knicks, New York’s affiliate team, to a 7-8 record in the G League bubble while leading the team in scoring, assists, and minutes. He made history by becoming Westchester’s first-ever recipient of the award, the highest nod a player has received in franchise history.

Harper finished fourth in the league in scoring with 21.3 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting. He had a pair of 30-point performances, including a career-high 35 points in the Knicks’ season finale win against Erie Bayhawks.

Harper also ended up as the second-best passer in the G League this season with 6.9 assists per game. He eclipsed the 10-assist mark four times this season, topped by a 13-assist showing against Fort Wayne, which tied his career-high.

The former Auburn star who went undrafted in 2019 also showed his impeccable marksmanship averaging 2.4 three-pointers made per game (third-best on the team) on a 40.3-percent clip.

Harper has appeared in garbage time in two New York Knicks games this season, totaling five minutes and two points.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks pick up Quinton Rose to replace Myles Powell

The Westchester Knicks acquired former Temple standout Quinton Rose, after Myles Powell left the G League Orlando Bubble.

Powell joined the Milwaukee Bucks on a two-way contract with Rose taking his spot in the Knicks’ G League team roster.

The 6-foot-8 Rose went undrafted in the 2020 NBA Draft but signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Sacramento Kings. He entered the Available Player Pool after Sacramento’s G League affiliate, Stockton Kings, begged off from participating in the condensed season.

Rose finished his Temple run with 14.4 points, 2.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals through 129 games with 102 starts. His 1,860 amassed points rank sixth all-time in the Owls’ history. Rose also racked up 231 steals throughout his four-year stay at Temple that stands as seventh all-time in the program history.

The Knicks, however, will only have one game left after a narrow 122-120 loss to Agua Caliente Clippers. Their eighth loss in 14 games eliminated them from playoff contention.

Only the top eight teams will advance in the single-elimination playoffs.

The Knicks will wrap up their G League season against the league-leading Erie Bayhawks (11-3) at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Bucks grab Myles Powell from Knicks

The New York Knicks lost former Seton Hall star Myles Powell to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks plan to sign Powell to a two-way contract after an impressive stint with the Westchester Knicks in the G League Orlando bubble.

Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported the news.

Powell averaged 17.8 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.8 steals with a 45/45/82 shooting splits in 28.1 minutes. He played 13 games for the Knicks’ G League affiliate team.

Powell is the second Westchester Knicks player to be signed by other NBA teams this season.

Last month, the Houston Rockets signed former Westchester center Justin Patton to a similar two-way contract. The Rockets recently made him their starting center after releasing DeMarcus Cousins. Patton is averaging 6.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in 20.4 minutes for the Rockets.

As the NBA and NBPA intend to loosen the restrictions on two-way contracts this season, Powell will be eligible to play for the Bucks’ regular-season and postseason games once the board approves the revision.

After going undrafted, Powell, the former Big East Player of the Year, signed an exhibit 10 contract with the Knicks. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the regular-season roster. He was relegated to the Knicks’ G League team, where he shined as the team’s third-leading scorer behind Jared Harper and Ignas Brazdeikis.

The Knicks have already maxed out their two-way spots with Harper and Theo Pinson.

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New York State of Mind: NBA trainer David Zenon is a man on a mission

The New York Knicks are reportedly still looking to fill out their already stacked coaching staff with more player development coaches. The Knicks’ head hunters don’t have to look far.

New York has been dubbed as the concrete jungle. Not everyone has the right temperament to survive, let alone shine amidst the bright lights in the city that never sleeps.

Its allure has captivated a lot of dreamers but has also sunk a thousand ships of failure.

New York-bred NCAA and NBA skills trainer David Zenon could have been one of them. But he has the heart of a real New Yorker. A fighter and a grinder.

This is a story that he must have been told a hundred times but it always hits home every time. It’s a story of how far you’re willing to go to chase after your dream.

“I was on the border of quitting. The story was very, very real. I only had 4 dollars and 75 cents to my name. I was just like, damn, I don’t’ think I’m gonna be able to do this. I can’t make any headway. I’m not catching breaks and it felt like a dead-end,” Zenon told Empire Sports Media in a phone interview.

Zenon had been chasing his dreams since he learned to play the game. At first, he wanted to become a basketball player. Then a basketball TV analyst. He eventually settled with a dream he became so passionate about during his junior year in college.

Growing up in the Bronx, he watched his dad playing competitive games around New York.

“I’ve played my entire life. My dad played ball. I was introduced to basketball very early. Once I got to college, I was a practice player. I wasn’t even a player on scholarship,” said Zenon who started as Communications Major before switching to Sports Management with a minor in Kinesiology.

With his basketball dreams seemingly slipping out of his reach, he turned his attention to the other facets of the game he loves most. His internship program with their women’s basketball team at Liberty University in Virginia paved the way for him to develop a passion for coaching and teaching.

“I had to learn the offenses and defenses of various teams just because that’s what the scouting guys would normally do and you know, it turned into a passion. It’s part of developing guys and that’s part of what you have to do as a coach, but also as a player just to get better,” Zenon said.

“I figured I could get into coaching or training right out of college.”

But it wasn’t easy breaking into the industry that has evolved from training with no one watching to having large clout on social media.

Zenon had to start from the ground up.

He trained random kids in nondescript courts and empty gyms just to make ends meet.

It was far from lucrative. Everyday was a fight for survival.

He wasn’t even living paycheck to paycheck. It was training kid to waiting-who-knows-when-there’s-another kid willing to pay to be coached.

The emotions at the other end of the line can be felt in his voice.

Here’s an NBA trainer who has been to the highest of highs training an NBA champion in Serge Ibaka and a slew of NBA players showing raw emotions recalling his humble beginnings.

It’s the story of the underdog who was almost on the verge of defeat but remained defiant. If this was a boxing match against fate, Zenon was already on the ropes, trapped in the corner and agonizingly waiting to be saved by the bell.

During his darkest hour, that’s when the opportunity came along with serendipity.

Down to his last money, Zenon received a message that would soon change his life forever.

“I was lucky enough to get contacted by a young man who’s trying to make it to his varsity basketball team and he just said ‘I heard you’re a good trainer, you work well with kids. Do you mind training me so I can make it to our varsity team?’,” Zenon recalled.

At the back of his head, Zenon was like: “Yeah I need the money!”

“But I’ve always wanted to teach the game. It doesn’t matter who he is,” he said.

He went to a nearby gas station and emptied the last $4.75 on his debit card to fill up his tank. Luckily, he found an additional quarter in his compartment.

“I asked him (gas attendant) if he could please put in a quarter worth of gas. I needed everything I could get,” Zenon recalled.

He ended up impressing the kid and his parents who watched on.

“And they asked me if is this is what I do full-time, ‘Is this how you make your money?’

And I’m like, yes sir, it is,” Zenon recalling that life-changing moment.

“My main source is this but I would like to work for an NBA franchise.”

Unknown to Zenon, the kid’s family is well-connected in the Madison Square Garden.

Zenon hit two birds in one stone as he became the kid’s full-time personal coach and his family’s connections helped him knock on the NBA door.

“His parents told me: ‘Well, we’ll introduce you to somebody who, hopefully, will open some doors for you’,” Zenon said.

He landed a gig with New York’s G League team. It wasn’t in the coaching staff, but he took it nonetheless.

“I was hired as a shot clock operator for the Westchester Knicks. I was doing just shot clock and statistics and I don’t even care if it was G League, I’d do it,” Zenon said.

Once his foot was halfway the NBA door, he didn’t let go of the opportunity. He networked like a young Mark Zuckerberg, handing out his card, resume, his number every time there was an opportunity.

Soon he was starting to vibe with the players such as former Knicks’ guard Langston Galloway.

“That was big for me,” Zenon said.

One opportunity led to another.

“Things really blew up for me when the Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis. I became cool with the brothers just because of a Tweet, ironically, and I had a gym where they can get shots at night at a local Westchester area,” Zenon said. “So we developed that rapport just I always do.”

Porzingis’ agent at that time was also managing Ibaka’s career. They were looking for a trainer for the summer. His connection with the Porzingis led to a tryout with Ibaka.

“‘We heard that your workout is good. We’ll gonna give you a tryout with Serge. I have one legit tryout for you to see if he likes it’,” Ibaka’s agent told Zenon.

In the two days leading to the make-or-break tryout, Zenon maniacally prepared for what was the biggest moment of his career. He watched and broke down films like he’s never done before.

“It was nerve-wracking because if Serge didn’t like it then it’s on to the next guy. He was a perfectionist,” Zenon said.

 

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Serge is going to make his first All Star ⭐️ Team this season, but while in New York, it’s a Photoshoot.

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His hard work and attention to detail paid off. He officially became an NBA personal trainer and hasn’t looked back since that summer of 2017.

His portfolio grew from Ibaka to the Plumlee brothers, Detroit Pistons’ Thon Maker, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jacob Evans, and several NBA players whom he did not name due to the confidential nature of his arrangement with their agents.

His consummate body of work has landed him a gig in an ESPN commercial featuring last year’s top pick Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, the Knicks’ third overall pick.

Zenon also had a hand in Common’s 2020 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game MVP performance.

The Chicago-based rapper, actor and writer was introduced to him by a common friend.

“He hit me up one day and said ‘I have Common in town, he wants to workout’,”Zenon recalled.

”I said The rapper?!”

He replied: “Yes, the rapper.”

Common was so impressed that he wanted another one which led to several more workouts. Common even flew him to Chicago for the All-Star Weekend to personally witness the fruit of their hard work at the gym.

A part of his ultimate bucket list has also been ticked off, sort of. He can proudly say that he has played a part in the development of the Knicks’ second-round steal Mitchell Robinson.

He’s been helping Robinson with his personal workouts in New York since he was drafted thanks to the rapport he’s built with the third-year center’s New Orleans-based trainer Marcel Scott. Zenon, though, still dreams of someday making it to his hometown team’s staff as a player development coach.

So how exactly did he pull it off and charm his way to Ibaka and the rest of his clients’ hearts?

“I want my players to know that I care about them first. When you develop a certain delivery, you need to have power in your voice, you have to have that belief in your voice. Players would like to see that confidence in what knowledge you’re giving them and vice-versa. As much as I would love to teach everything that I know, I’m learning from them too. You have to have that back-and-forth, collaborative process,” Zenon said.

Built like a rock, the 6-foot-3 and 230-lb trainer has exhibited a combination of grace and power on the court.

As student of the game, Zenon’s thirst hasn’t been quenched. He always loves to seek out opportunities to collaborate and pick the brains of the best trainers in the industry.

With Ibaka, he’s been grateful for the opportunity to team up with veteran Spanish coach Hugo Lopez. The 45-year old Spaniard had coaching stints in the Spanish league, Euroleague, Angola, and most notably NBL Canada where he was named Coach of the Year in 2016.

“I always mention that I also learn from other guys. And Serge has been working with Hugo Lopez too, from Spain. A great guy, great teacher. It’s really great to work with somebody who knows so much about the game as well and when you worked with a guy like that and brainstorm with the player and do the right way, you’ll be able to see the fruits of his labor,” Zenon said.

With Zenon and Lopez at the helm of things, Ibaka flourished and was able to expand his game and adapt to the constantly evolving NBA. In just his second year co-training Ibaka, the Spanish international became a vital cog of the Toronto Raptors’ championship run in the 2018-19 season.

It wasn’t just a combination of grace and power. His cerebral work has also been integral in his success as a trainer.

“I would always want to study the offense that they’re part of. I do a lot of diligent work to look at a lot of things like the ability to look at their schedule and see the tendencies of the opposing teams on how they play defense on him,” Zenon explained.

“That’s how I based my training with my guys.”

Aside from Lopez and Scott, Zenon has two more player development coaches who have greatly influenced him.

“I’ve been able to learn from Phil Handy. He’s a great man. He knows so much obviously. He does a great job developing his guys,” Zenon said.

Handy, of course, is the renowned player development coach who’s tight with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The current Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant coach has now won three rings with three different teams out of six consecutive Finals appearances including four with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and one each with the Raptors and the Lakers. Handy is on the radar of the Brooklyn Nets to join Steve Nash’s coaching staff.

How he met Handy is another proof of Zenon’s hunger and willingness to go the extra mile.

“I just reached out in DM (Direct Message on Twitter) and I was honest to him that I want really to learn,” Zenon said. “This is what I’m doing to get better in my craft but what can I do to get a lot better consistently,” he asked Handy.

When Handy was still with the Cavaliers and was visiting the Philadelphia 76ers, Zenon had to drive from New York to meet him in person for the first time.

“If I had the opportunity to talk to him even for 10 minutes, the two-and-a-half-hour drive was worth it. I was able to pick his brain, the thought process on how they prepare for the game,” Zenon said.

He would always seek Handy’s wisdom on zoom calls thereafter as well as other coaches.

The other guy in his corner is James Clark, the Philadelphia-based trainer of 76ers’ Ben Simmons and San Antonio Spurs’ Dejounte Murray and several more NBA players.

“We’ve worked together, we’ve done clinics and workout together. There’s a mutual respect there. It’s always been something so beneficial for me to be able to have those two guys in my corner. Phil and James are good friends too,” Zenon said.

“It’s been a total blast to have those two guys in my corner.”

While the pandemic had slowed down everything, Zenon refused to get stagnant. He read books and coaching resources. He watched and broke down films and at the height of the quarantine, he had to be creative and imaginative in the digital space to connect with his players.

“It’s tough because you’re not hands-on. So we just gotta do it by distance. It’s crazy because I’m always the kind of guy who moves a lot and shows them what to do,” he said.

On top of his NBA and NCAA gigs, Zenon is still routinely coaching kids. He is also a current assistant coach at The Patrick School in New Jersey, the venerable high school program that produced Samuel Dalembert, Al Harrington, and Irving.

The young man who opened up the doors for Zenon made it to his varsity team.

“He actually became a starter, not that year but the following year. They won a section championship and I’m still very close to him to this day. He’s like a little brother to me,” Zenon said.

Zenon’s $4.75 has gone a long way.

And the best is yet to come as his journey hasn’t even reached halfway.