Travis Trice is trying to keep his situation in perspective.
The former Michigan State point guard was among five players cut by the Knicks in training camp and is now with their D-League franchise, the Westchester Knicks.
"You never want to go in doubting, you're always wishing for the best but it is what it is," the 6-foot-2 Trice (No. 20 in this picture) said last week at the team's media day. "I'm just going to take it as another opportunity. It could be worse, I know there's a lot of guys that would be fighting to be in this position right now so I'm just trying to take it day by day."
The Knicks still have an open roster spot and both Trice and former NBA lottery pick Jimmer Fredette - Trice's Westchester teammate - are aware of the situation. Jose Calderon, the Knicks starting point guard is 34, while the backup Jerian Grant is a rookie.
"Like I said, that's a spot I'm gunning for but I just want to get better as a player every day and try to improve," Trice said. "And just find a way to get into the NBA, no matter what team it's with so that's what I'm trying to do."
Trice averaged a team-best 15.3 points along with 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds last season when coach Tom Izzo's team reached the Final Four before losing to eventual national champion Duke in the national semifinals.
Westchester coach Mike Miller was impressed by Trice's performance with the Knicks during the preseason.
"I had a chance to watch him all through training camp and I saw him grow in that amount of time," Miller said. "He played in the Charlotte game and had some good minutes, made some really good passes, made some good plays, was very aggressive with his dribble. He set some guys up for shots, so I think it will translate.
"Certainly there is an adjustment period adjusting to the pro game and then adjusting to the D-League because there are a couple of different rules within the D-League, particularly for a point guard. But I think he'll do well. I think his experiences have prepared him and now he needs some playing time and playing with Jimmer, with DaJuan [Summers], with those guys, I think it will be great for him to continue to grow."
Meantime, Trice is keeping tabs on Sparty and believes they have a shot to contend for another national championship.
"I think they have a chance to go back and even get farther than we did last year," he said. "I feel like they're more talented than we were. You add a guy like Eron Harris, you get a guy back like Javon Bess who will be healthy this year, and the way Denzell [Valentine] finished last year, and the way our bigs were playing towards the end. I feel like they have a chance, they just gotta stick together."
Trice practiced with the Spartans over the summer and believes committed small forward Miles Bridges of Huntington (W.V.) Prep - part of coach Tom Izzo's blockbuster recruiting class - is better than anyone on the current team.
"I actually got to go back on their official visit, the Oregon weekend, and got to play open gym and hang out with those guys," Trice said. "It's great group and I feel like Michigan State is in good hands."
How good is the 6-foot-7 Bridges?
"I feel like he was the best player in the gym," Trice said.
Better than anyone currently on the team?
"Yeah, he was just that impressive," Trice said. "I feel like he is definitely a pro."
Photo by Albert Coqueran
White Plains Examiner
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider for SNY.tv. You can follow him on Twitter.