By Tommy Rothman
Jeremy Tyler might not be a household name yet, but he certainly has the potential to become one. Tyler, who left high school early to pursue a career overseas instead of playing in the NCAA, was drafted with the 39th pick of the 2011 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. After seeing limited action in Golden State, Tyler joined the Knicks’ Summer League team. New York waived Tyler after he suffered a foot injury, but brought him back to their D-League team and added him to the NBA roster in January once his rehab was complete. In the past week, Tyler has become a part of Coach Mike Woodson’s rotation, and has showed off his impressive athleticism on both ends of the floor. Tyler is averaging 18.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes through his first 10 games as a Knick. I reached out to Jeremy through his media team a couple weeks ago, and he was kind enough to agree to do an online interview with New York Knicks Memes. Keep reading to see what Jeremy had to say about himself, his journey, his teammates, his coach’s smile, music, and his first month as a Knick.
Tommy Rothman, New York Knicks Memes: Hi, Mr. Tyler. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Your path to the NBA was a bit more complicated than the standard prep-to-college-to-pro journey. Even before making your NBA debut with the Warriors in 2011, you had already played in a professional setting. But the NBA and the bj league (in Japan) are two very different things. What was the most difficult part about the transition to the NBA?
Jeremy Tyler, New York Knicks: The pace of the game is a little faster here and [there are] more athletic players. And the seriousness of each game [is higher].
Tommy: Have there ever been times where you have felt that having experienced professional basketball outside of the NBA has helped you handle the pressures and the spotlight of the NBA?
Jeremy: Yes, it definitely has, and it’s been really good taking the experiences I have over there and [using] them in everyday life here, and [it’s] helped me become a better person.
Tommy: You landed a spot on the Knicks’ summer league roster and were very impressive. You earned yourself a contract and then, just when it seemed you were a lock to make the team, it was announced that you would miss several weeks with a foot injury. How did you respond to that mentally? What was it like rehabbing an injury while trying to fight for a roster spot, physically and emotionally?
Jeremy: It was hard at first but I learned the injury might have came to teach me patience. And with patience it taught me to use each setback as a comeback. I think because I had my head on straight and a good support system, I was able to get through it.
Tommy: Immediately after the Knicks waived you, they expressed interest in bringing you back to their D-League team to give you a chance to prove yourself. You were very impressive in the D-League (your final game with the Erie Bayhawks having been a 21 point, 15 rebound performance). The Knicks decided you’d earned a shot on the NBA roster, and you recently signed an NBA contract with the team. So after a half-year of uncertainty, you are finally a New York Knick. How did it feel when you finally got signed? How has your first month as a Knick been?
Jeremy: It felt great. It felt like I accomplished the first step of my big goal. With the first month being here, I found myself. I’ve been learning, getting in great shape and working on my mental and physical performance.
Tommy: Playing in New York City is no small matter. Do you feel ready to handle the pressures of playing in the most famous arena and the largest media market in the NBA?
Jeremy: Yes, I am ready to accept any challenges that come my way. I am well-prepared for adversity and am excited.
Tommy: There are a lot of fans who haven’t gotten much of a chance to see you play. Which part of your game do you think Knicks Fans should be most excited about? What should we expect from you on the court going forward? What do you try to bring to the table? In other words, who are you when you step on the floor?
Jeremy: My sense of urgency. I like to play at a high level energy wise. I am a very fun and outgoing player to watch whether on the court or supporting my team on the bench. On the court going forward, I’m going to [give] 110% every time and take advantage of any minutes I can get.
Tommy: Which NBA players did you idolize growing up? Who did you try to model your game after?
Jeremy: Growing up I idolized Amar’e (Stoudemire) and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Tommy: You are playing with one of the game’s elite scorers in Carmelo Anthony, and a premier post defender in Tyson Chandler. You will be around veterans famed for their toughness, such as Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin. How much do you think you can learn from your new teammates as you try to develop as an NBA player?
Jeremy: I can learn a lot like I have been. They have been in the game a while and they help a lot everyday and I feed off their positive projections.
Tommy: Eventually, we will get to know you as a player. But what do you want Knicks fans to learn about you now, as a person?
Jeremy: I am very family orientated and I’m extroverted and like it do a lot of things.
Tommy: Have you ever seen Mike Woodson smile? Be honest. It’s OK if you haven’t.
Jeremy: Yes. He smiles all the time. He’s a very happy and outgoing standup guy.
Tommy: Iman Shumpert and Metta World Peace have both dabbled in the rap game recently. Do you have what it takes when it comes to rap? Should one of your new teammates put you on a track?
Jeremy: Yes, I love music. I do music. Maybe one day we will all be on a track together. I can rap, but I prefer to sing and play the piano. I taught myself to play the piano while I was playing basketball in Japan.
Tommy: What advice do you have for young basketball players?
Jeremy: Always play and always have fun. But know that if you want to accomplish something big, you have to put in the work. As a young player you have to put even more work than any of the older players.
Tommy: What goals do you have for yourself as an NBA player?
Jeremy: To be an NBA All-Star and be an icon one day.
Tommy: Last question: You have shown that you can comfortably play either position, but do you view yourself as a Power Forward, or a Center?
Jeremy: I can play either. I am both. Wherever they need me, I am ready.
Special thanks to Jeremy and to his media manager, Leslie Strauss.