Maybe we have our center guys, maybe not. I like the way he's talking though. Every team that wants to win in the playoffs needs to have a guy or two w this type of attitude.
By LENN ROBBINS
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Josh Harrellson joining Amar'e Stoudemire and[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]isn't going to give the Knicks a Big 3 like the team in Miami that recently choked.
But the rookie big man might give them a presence every team needs to advance, especially in the playoffs.
"I'm going to protect my stars," Harrellson said yesterday at halftime of the Liberty's win over the[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]at the Prudential Center. "Amar'e, Carmelo, if someone's getting rough with them, I'm going to protect them. I'm going to make my presence felt. They'll know I'm there."
Harrellson, the No. 45 overall pick whom the Knicks acquired from the Hornets in a draft-night deal for about $750,000, said he thinks he can have a long NBA career as -- his words -- a garbage man.
HAVING A BALL: Knicks first-round pick Iman Shumpert receives a 21st birthday present from Liberty mascot Maddie at yesterday's game in Newark -- much to the delight of fellow draft-day pickup Josh Harrellson.
It's a role he said he always felt comfortable with but certainly perfected at Kentucky, where he had one of the most volatile careers in Wildcats history.
Harrellson was recruited by Billy Gillispie, who quickly found the perfect scapegoat in the 6-foot-10, 270-pound center. Gillispie once locked Harrellson in a bathroom during halftime of a game and made him take the equipment truck home from a road game.
Harrellson was hoping for a second life at Kentucky when Gillispie was fired and replaced by John Calipari. But after grabbing 26 boards in the Blue-White game, he drew Calipari's ire by tweeting that he got no love from his coach. Calipari then banned players from using Twitter.
"Definitely the smartest dumbest thing I did in my life," Harrellson said.
Calipari didn't think he would need Harrellson last season, having signed Turkish center[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]after losing center[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]to a surprising entry in the NBA Draft. But when the NCAA ruled Kanter ineligible for playing with a team that paid some players (not Kanter), Harrellson stepped in to fill a void.
He led the SEC in rebounding last season, averaging 7.6 per game. He gained additional fame by wearing jeans shorts, which garnered him the nickname "Jorts."
His nickname with the Knicks is up for grabs. The Joshinator? Hammerson?
"I'm his protector tonight," said Harrellson, pointing at Knicks first-round pick Iman Shumpert, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday.
It's all a dream come true for Harrellson, the kid from St. Charles, Mo., population: 65,000. He had never been to New York until last season, when Kentucky played UConn in the Garden. If he makes the Knicks roster, he will call the Garden home, and there you just might see the Garbage Man taking out the trash.
Mike D'antoni better play this kid if he looks like he's ready. Maybe he can be a guy who'll grab 10-12 rebounds for us nightly. You never know.