CHICAGO — De’Aaron Fox enjoyed somewhat of a surreal moment during his interview with the Knicks on Wednesday here at the NBA Draft Combine.
He found himself face-to-face with Knicks president Phil Jackson.
“It was cool, he was more staring at me, trying to feel me out, but I enjoyed all my interviews,” the 6-foot-3 Fox said at Quest Multisport Complex.
Jackson, meantime, made no secret of the fact that his team is looking for guards, with Derrick Rose injured and also a free agent.
“Right now we’re looking for wings and guards,” Jackson said.
The Knicks also met with projected No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz on Wednesday.
“It’s always interesting to meet these young men and have an opportunity to get to know them,” Jackson said of Fultz and Fox. “They have pretty much a set story that they’ve been taught. But we hope to knock them off base a little bit and see what their personalities are.”
The lightning-quick Fox is a projected top-five pick in next month’s NBA Draft and has drawn comparisons to former Kentucky star John Wall, a former No. 1 pick. Fox has met here with eight teams, including the Lakers, 76ers and Knicks, who are slotted to pick seventh.
Fox, who averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds in his lone season at Kentucky, will learn more about his fate at Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery. He said he’d love to play in New York.
“I feel like I’d handle it great,” he said. “I’m from Houston, I’ve been around big cities. Lexington is not that big of a city but the way that their fan base is makes it seem like it’s a big city and a big market. I know those fans are demanding and they’re going to let you know how they feel, but so are Kentucky fans.”
Fox said the Knicks didn’t specifically address the triangle offense during their meeting, but that he’d love to play with 7-foot-3 star Kristaps Porzingis.
“I don’t know too much about the triangle,” he said. “Everyone says it’s hard to learn but if I go in there I’ll have to learn quickly. And Porzingis, he’s amazing, watching the NBA this year. I really paid attention to the NBA this year knowing I’m about to go into this business; I had to stop watching it as a casual fan and start thinking of it as a business aspect. He’s great and if I get to play with him, I feel like we can do something special.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari said his players, including Fox and shooting guard Malik Monk, also a projected lottery pick, would have no trouble adjusting to life in the Big Apple because they’re used to the glare of Kentucky.
Fox showed he can perform in a big spot when he went off for 39 points and outplayed UCLA’s Lonzo Ball to propel Kentucky into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
“Some people talked about, talked about that dog I have,” Fox said. “I’m extremely competitive, I came out hot. We all know what was said, it gave the entire team fuel.
“I feel like I’m the best.”
Adam Zagoria is a basketball insider who has run ZAGSBLOG.com since 2006. He is a college basketball contributor for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the co-host of The Four Quarters Podcast via VSporto.com, which is available via iTunes. Zagoria is also a contributor to The New York Times. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.