As a young and talented NBA prospect, Vernon Goodridge has been doing what he can to keep the dream of making it to The Association alive.
The Brooklyn native played overseas in Ukraine last season, averaging 10.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. He's a high-flying, athletic forward whom many believe is right on the cusp of breaking into the league.
The Knicks are among the teams that certainly see enough promise in Goodridge. The team has kept him on the radar since 2010 and scouted him multiple times since.
Talking about his workouts for his hometown squad, Goodridge said, "Each time I work out for the Knicks, I feel like I get a little better. I try to show my skills in regard to rebounding the ball and my shot-blocking ability. The second time I went out there, I wanted to show what I could do without the ball too. It's a difficult situation because right off the bat, most people want to come out and take that first shot. I'm a patient person and can play well regardless."
Growing up, Goodridge said he tried to become explosive and admired defensive all-star Ben Wallace. The 27 year-old also talked about his skill set, saying he tries to model his game after a couple of local favorites. He added, "Well my favorite player is Amar'e Stoudemire. I try to work the pick and roll effectively and be as good as he is at it. Tyson Chandler is obviously an excellent defensive player, so I try to work some of that into my game too."
After struggling on the defensive end for many years, the Knicks brought in Chandler and experienced a world of difference. Chandler came to the Big Apple fresh off winning an NBA championship with the Mavericks in 2011, and made it his mission to change the culture in New York's locker room.
After hovering around a top-10 ranking in defensive efficiency all season long, the Knicks will surely look to continue embracing that defensive mentality next season. Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas will don orange and blue once again, both ready to help the team maintain a strong defensive attack through 48 minutes.
Even with all three big men in the fold, New York will keep their eyes open after forfeiting Jared Jeffries in the Raymond Felton/Thomas trade. By making the promise to bring 28 year old Chris Copeland into training camp, the Knicks further proved the grind for a player like Goodridge never stops if the dream is still alive.
Though he's scheduled to play overseas once again next season, NBA fans can still get a glimpse of what Goodridge can do as he hits the hardwood for a great cause this Saturday afternoon, July 28th.
The hometown kid will be playing in the Malone Mulhall Benefit Game at Adelphi University. The great event is held to honor Michael Mulhall, as well as Jamie and Paige Malone, all of whom lost their lives in a tragic car accident in 2010.
Goodridge is playing in the contest for the second year in a row, and talked about the great cause and getting a tune up by playing against talents like the Spurs' Danny Green and some other NBA Summer League standouts.
The big man added, "What happened was a tragic situation, but to help out anyway I can and support the good cause is important. I've lost friends in car accidents before, so I'm doing it for them also.
"And it's always good to see a lot of the guys playing in the game. I played with Danny a little bit in high school actually, and I play with [St. John's Red Storm alum] Justin Burrell all around New York City during the summertime. I'm just looking forward to another great experience like last year."
Fans can experience the entertaining contest firsthand while supporting the worthy cause by purchasing a ticket for the game by going to the MMBG's website.