As the Knicks open up the season against the Bucks on Wednesday night, they'll file in to a fully revamped Madison Square Garden. There's no doubt the building will be filled with roaring fans who are filled with even higher hopes and more optimistic dreams for an exciting year.
The atmosphere is sure to be electric for any number of reasons, but perhaps one of the most fun reasons of all will be the subject of Metta World Peace's Knickerbocker debut at MSG.
After a decade and a half, the prodigal son has returned. The Queens native and St. John's University alumni has come home, boasting an NBA champion ring on his finger. With Carmelo Anthony and company hoping to earn one of their own this season, the prize is World Peace's for the taking yet again.
Of course, the forward is already familiar with the pressures of the Big Apple. Someone who recalls that all too well is his college coach, former St. John's University head coach Mike Jarvis.
"When I was at St. John's, we had a lot of success," the coach recalled while speaking with KnicksJournal.com. "We won a Big East championship, we won an NIT national championship. We ended up playing in three NCAA tournaments. We were the last non-ACC team to beat Duke at Cameron. That was us, and that was thirteen years ago!"
"That's how good our teams were," he added. "When we had Artest, that was as good, as skilled, and as versatile as a team that I've ever coached. If we had that team now, we'd probably be ranked top five in the country. We had some great teams with great players who wanted to win. They didn't always like each other off the court, but they loved each other on it. They played great together. Kids today are nowhere near as tough as these guys were back then. That was a throw back team. As tough as you wouldn't believe."
Having coached World Peace (then Artest) at one of the better times of his basketball career, Coach Jarvis is excited to see what the Big Apple holds for his former player this time around. He said, "It'll be great, as long as he has a great year! You know in a place like New York, you've got to produce!"
"But Ron is going to work. He always has," the coach asserted. "He's going to outwork everybody. I just hope he still has a few years left in the tank where he can compete at the level of which he's capable of. If Ron does that, he'll be a great addition to the Knicks. Then it'll be a great homecoming. But he's got to play well, because you know New York. If you don't win today, they're going to get rid of you tomorrow."
Coach Jarvis concluded by saying. "Ron's going to be a great addition to the Knicks organization, the city, and the fans. I'm very happy for him, his family, and friends."
Talking glowingly about his own tenure in New York, Coach Jarvis said he enjoys reflecting on the time spent here. The longtime coach was Knickerbocker legend Patrick Ewing's high school coach too, so his ties to the Big Apple are as evident as ever with World Peace donning orange and blue now as well.