New York Knicks power forward Kyle O’Quinn had the night off following a thrilling Saturday night New York Knicks buzzer-beating victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Instead of relaxing at home, the Queens, NY native enjoyed his evening at the Westchester County Center cheering on his teammates Ron Baker, Maurice Ndour, and Marshall Plumlee, all on assignment with the Westchester Knicks. We caught up with O’Quinn, who’s becoming a regular at #DubKnicks games, and learned what he enjoys most about seeing the Westchester Knicks in action, why it’s important to support Westchester players on their journeys, and how valuable NBA Development League experience keeps them sharp as they prepare to compete at the next level.
Westchester Knicks (WCK): What brings you out to a Westchester Knicks game on your night off?
Kyle O’Quinn (KOQ): Three guys got assigned this morning. We practice with those guys so you always want to support them. The Westchester Knicks are a part of our organization and when Plumlee, Ndour, and Baker are not getting the minutes they probably want on the [New York] Knicks, they support us while we’re playing. And I live close, so it’s an easy support system for me.
WCK: You’ve caught a couple of [Westchester Knicks] games this season. What has the overall experience of attending a Westchester Knicks game been like for you?
KOQ: It’s good. It’s always good energy. The fans here love the Knicks, that Knicks name – whether it’s Westchester or New York – so it’s always a good feeling to come out and get that love; and at the same time it’s good to see young players grow.
WCK: You mentioned that Baker, Ndour, and Plumlee are teammates of yours but they also have the unique experience of going back and forth between the Westchester Knicks and the New York Knicks. How do you feel that experience has enhanced their game overall? What advantages are there to gaining dual exposure?
KOQ: It keeps them sharp. My rookie year I probably played just as much as they do on an NBA level and I had to stay sharp through drills and boring conditioning. But they get to play the game they love and work on their game so when their numbers are called by Jeff [Hornacek], they’re ready to go.
WCK: You mentioned Coach Hornacek. He’s also here watching the guys tonight. What do you think that means for Plumlee, Baker, and Ndour to look over to the sidelines and see a familiar face in you, as well as Coach Hornacek?
KOQ: It feels good. I’m sure it does. I can only imagine. That’s the kind of guy Coach Hornacek is. Him being here doesn’t surprise any of us. He’s a good dude. And I’m sure if he didn’t have the time, he’d make the time. That’s just the kind of person he is.
WCK: The New York Knicks is a fairly young team. You’ve been in the league five years. I would consider you one of the vets on the team. What type of leadership do you try to impart upon the younger guys?
KOQ: Control what you can control at this level. Until you get three or four years in, you have to follow the system that the coach and the organization puts in front of you. I just try to keep these guys motivated and let them know a lot of people want to be in their shoes. I think that’s the biggest thing.
The Westchester Knicks (16-21) defeated the Erie BayHawks (11-26) with a final score of 101-91. Knicks guard Von Wafer (18 points), Baker (16 points, 8 assists) and Plumlee (15 points, 11 rebounds) led the way. They return to action on Friday, March 3 against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (20-15). Watch live on MSG Networks or via Facebook Live at 7 p.m. ET.