With March Madness in full effect, Kevin Knox is nostalgic as he remembers this time last year he was wearing Kentucky's blue and white trying to win a National Championship.
"It's crazy to think this time last year I was in the [NCAA] Tournament, getting ready for the game, heart racing before the games and stuff like that," Knox told The Post's Peter Botte. "The tournament, there's no better feeling than winning, so going out there and getting some wins in and playing against a team on the road, we had some good road wins last year at Kentucky, there's no better feeling in that locker room."
The Wildcats were upset in the Sweet 16, but as Knox points out, every game had the utmost importance that created a different vibe. But things have down a 180 for Knox, as he plays on a Knicks team that has been out of the playoffs virtually since the season began.
Next season, he's hoping to get that March feeling in games that matter this late in the NBA regular season.
"Next year, hopefully around this time we get a lot more wins, have a better feeling for home games and away games," Knox said.
The Knicks could certainly get into the playoffs if all goes right this offseason. With two max slots to sign top free agents and the potential first overall NBA Draft pick, New York could turn the franchise from worst to playoff contender in just a year.
For Knox, improving his jumper and bringing what he learned in his rookie season to his sophomore year will go a long way for the Knicks. The 2018 first-rounder has been up and down all season long, shooting 36.9 percent from the field and 34.7 from three.
But head coach David Fizdale has been pressuring Knox to fight through his adversity, and continue to shoot and work despite the Knicks' consistent losing. There is still more levels to climb for the 19-year-old.
"Only one way to go, for sure, is up," Fizdale said. "I think, again, for him it's keeping him aggressive. I don't care about the numbers right now. He was the youngest kid in the draft and he's a slim-build. We knew right away that this was not gonna be something where you just hit the ground running."
Fizdale also believes Knox' "warts" are showing more often than not this season because he didn't have players like Kristaps Porzingis to play alongside of him. When the rest of the team is struggling on the floor, Knox is going to do the same.
"Kevin's warts show, because everybody else is screwing up, too. We can't tuck him away and hide those things right now. But I think going through this is as good as going through it with veterans, because this fast-tracks you. This forces you to have to go through all of it and really face what you're weak at in an immediate way."
Hopefully, the Knicks can land someone like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or ideally, both so Knox and other youngsters like Allonzo Trier can get better looks out on the floor. And that may be the recipe for the Knicks giving Knox the March feeling he's longing for.