Frank Ntilikina jetted in from France for the NBA Draft, took his bows at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in New York after being taken eighth by the Knicks, then looked forward to flying back home for his championship series.
The 18-year-old guard said he would not have missed this whirlwind week for anything.
“Definitely this week is one of the craziest weeks I’ve been through in my whole life, trying to get the championship tomorrow, so definitely great,” said Ntilikina, who met with Knicks front office chief Phil Jackson on Wednesday.
The NBA’s highest drafted French player, Ntilikina became will take a charter flight back to France in the wee hours on Friday to compete in the fifth game of the French League finals with his Strasbourg team against Chalon.
The all-round, 6-foot-5 (1.96 m) Ntilikina whose long wingspan could make him a defensive terror on the court, said the Knicks had added a valuable player.
“What will I bring to the Knicks, actually a lot of hope,” he said. “I think I’m a player who will trust the process, work hard, and definitely try to be the best player I can be, who will give energy,” he told reporters.
“I’ll just try to make my team mates be better every day, and I think I can play defense, too.”
Ntilikina said he was pleased to be joining a team that already has a number of international players on their roster.
“To be drafted and to play in a place that already has international players is just great to adapt to the environment,” he said.
The Knicks had four Europeans on their roster last season, foremost among them the 7-foot-3 (2.21 m) Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia.
“Definitely just to play with him would be great, I think,” he said. “We’re both European, we both have a good IQ and play pick-and-roll with him will be great.”
Ntilikina told reporters he would not play for the French national team in this summer’s European Championships in order to spend time with the Knicks, who start summer-league practice in Orlando on June 28.