BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Fans at Briarcliff High School on Tuesday night to watch the Bears host the Garnets received a special treat as New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni was on hand to watch his son, who plays for Rye.
At this point in the year, D’Antoni would normally be in the midst of the NBA season. But the lockout that delayed the start of the season until Christmas Day afforded the coach an opportunity to watch his son in action.
“Right now, I’m about done because we’ll start our season on Christmas Day,” D’Antoni said. “So this will be one of the few that I can see.”
The Knicks come into the 2011-12 season with high expectations, as Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire bring plenty of star power to Madison Square Garden. The recent signings of center Tyson Chandler and point guards Baron Davis and Mike Bibby have Knicks fans buzzing with excitement.
As for that highly anticipated Christmas Day matchup with the rival Boston Celtics, D’Antoni expressed cautious optimism.
“We’re looking forward to it. It should be exciting,” D’Antoni said. “We don’t know exactly what will happen because we’ve only been together a week, but we think we can be a very good team in the future and hopefully it’s the near future. We’ve got good guys who are working hard and looking forward to it.”
D’Antoni has several ties to Westchester County. The Knicks practice at a facility in Greenburgh and the coach lives in Rye. His son, also named Mike, is a junior guard for the Garnets.
Rye lost to Briarcliff, 68-53, on Tuesday after the Bears outscored the Garnets 21-11 in the fourth quarter. Despite the loss, D’Antoni said he was pleased with son’s performance.
“It was good. They just kind of blew up a little in the fourth quarter,” D’Antoni said. “But it was a good game. Fun.”