06/08/2010 3:00 PM ET
Collins, Rautins visit Knicks
Team works out college stars prior to draft
By Adam Zagoria / SNY.tv
Syracuse product and Canadian citizen Andy Rautins has an NBA pedigree and a strong outside jump shot. (AP)

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- While the Knicks wait for the LeBron James sweepstakes to officially begin July 1, they continue to work out draft prospects in hopes of laying the foundation for the future.

Former Syracuse guard Andy Rautins and former Kansas floor general Sherron Collins were among the players who worked out Tuesday at the team's Westchester practice facility.

With the news that former Knicks point guard Sergio Rodriguez will return home to Spain after signing a three-year deal with Real Madrid, the Knicks are in need of a point guard next season.

Rautins, 23, has already worked out for the Heat, Spurs, Mavericks and Trail Blazers, as well participated in group workouts for the Bulls and Timberwolves.

DraftExpress.com and NBADraft.net currently both leave Rautins out of their mock drafts.

A strong outside shooter who averaged 12.1 points and 4.9 rebounds last season with the Orange, Rautins is looking to show NBA clubs that he's more than just a shooter.

"I played the one all day today," Rautins said. "I handled against Sherron Collins, I'm trying to make that transition from the two to the one a little bit so I can prove to teams I'm more valuable as a combo guard and I feel like I'm more than capable of playing the one in the league."

One NBA scout said he believes the 6-foot-4 Rautins will have a solid NBA career.

"He's gotten better and better," said the scout, who requested anonymity because he is not permitted to comment publicly on prospects. "He comes from a high-powered college basketball program at Syracuse. He was there five years. He's really going to grow as a player.

"I think he could be a really good role player and shooter coming off the bench in the NBA."

Leo Rautins, Andy's father, was selected 17th overall in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers after a career at Syracuse.

Andy Rautins said playing in the Big East for Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim also prepared him for life in the pros.

"It's huge," he said. "Being in one of the most physical conferences in the country, all the top talent and playing against teams like Georgetown and Villanova every night in front of 30,000 people, that's the stuff that gets you ready for the league."

A Canadian citizen and Jamesville, N.Y., native Rautins grew up as a fan of the Patrick Ewing/John Starks Knicks. He was also part of the classic six-overtime victory against UConn in the 2009 Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. What would it mean for him to play professionally on that same floor?

"I can't even tell you," he said. "It's always been a dream of mine to play in the Garden, just like it was at 'Cuse. I made that happen, so hopefully some things can fall into place where I can wind up here. To play in front of my home state would just be an unbelievable experience and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

After helping Kansas to the NCAA title in 2008, Collins averaged 15.5 points and 4.5 assists last season and was named a second-team All-American by The Associated Press. Yet at 5-11, 215 pounds, questions loom about Collins' build.

"He's build like an overweight running back," the NBA scout said. "A lot of people are concerned about his weight and I think it's going to hurt him."

Collins, 23, said he lost about 16 pounds training with Joe Abunassar at Impact Academy in Las Vegas alongside Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson and others.

"My goal was just to get in the best shape that I can," Collins said. "My weight's going down a lot, body fat's going down."

With John Wall the projected No. 1 pick, Collins said "everybody's shooting" to be "that next guard" taken. Wall's Kentucky teammate Eric Bledsoe figures to be the next point guard taken after Wall.

Still, Collins said he believes he can fit into Mike D'Antoni's system and help out the Knicks, who draft at No. 38 and 39 in the second round.

"It would be great to play here," he said. "A lot of greats played here. Madison Square Garden is like a field trip, actually. I played here in the Jordan All-American Game and my first time being in the building, I still remember it like the back of my hand.

"So it would be great to play here. It's a great city."

Adam Zagoria is a regular contributor to SNY.tv. Read his blog at ZagsBlog.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AdamZagoria.
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