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ESPN draft expert praises Tyler Kolek’s future with the New York Knicks

An ESPN draft expert believes Tyler Kolek will make an immediate difference for the White Plains-based New York Knicks next season.

The Knicks entered this week’s NBA Draft with a somewhat subdued outlook, selecting young European prospect Pacome Dadiet with the first pick before selecting three more players in the second round on Thursday. Marquette star Tyler Kolek was the first of that trio, selected with the 34th pick in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The selection of Kolek, who led the nation in assists last season, made an impression on ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony, who called the former Golden Eagle the rookie “most likely to make a splash in the 2024-25 G League.”

Kolek 2024 at MSG

January 20, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Marquette Golden Eagles guard Tyler Kolek (11) passes St. John’s Red Storm guard Simeon Wilcher (7) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Photo Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

“With Jalen Brunson and Miles McBride in the backcourt, coach Tom Thibodeau’s tight rotations and the proximity between the Knicks’ practice facility and the G League team (Westchester), I can see Kolek (the No. 34) getting some serious action there next year,” Givony said. “He was the best assist player in college basketball last season and will probably be the same in the G League depending on how much action he gets. I think he’ll be a very good NBA player over time.”

Some had Kolek projected as a first-round pick after a brilliant four-year college career between George Mason and Marquette. When he fell to the second round, the Knicks wasted no time moving up the draft list to secure his services. New York sent three second-round picks (2027, 2029, 2030) to the Pacific Northwest in the ensuing deal.

Kolek was the 2023 Big East Player of the Year, earning an honor previously bestowed upon his new teammates Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson. That same year, Kolek must have made a lasting impression at Madison Square Garden, as he headlined Marquette’s first title run in the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament and received the Most Outstanding Player Award for the 2023 edition.

Despite winning the most recent G League Showcase Cup, the Westchester Knicks, who returned to their traditional home of Westchester County Center last year, struggled through a 9-23 season. Brandon Goodwin, now based in Puerto Rico, was the team’s leading scorer with 22.9 points per game.

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