Originally posted on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 8/14/12


Following an 18-6 finish to the regular season, interim coach Mike Woodson received support from many Knicks players who hoped he'd return next season.

With the interim tag removed and Woodson now the man in charge for the foreseeable future, he and his revamped veteran team are ready to get down to business.

Though an entire 82 game season and a full training camp will certainly help their cause, Woodson has wasted no time beginning to lay the ground work. Not waiting until fall, there's apparently no time like the present.

Since reaching a new agreement to remain with the Knicks, Coach Woodson has spent his summer traveling the globe, taking time out to visit and train with a number of his players. Whereas last summer, NBA players were not able to interact with team officials because of the lockout, this year we've begun to see how much of an impact such relationship building can possibly make.

In addition to watching New York's summer league team play in Las Vegas (where current Knickerbocker James White and non-guarantees Chris Copeland and Chris Smith showed off their skills), the favored coach has made a number of other stops too.

Woodson traveled to London earlier this month, where he watched Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler begin their eventual quest for an Olympic gold medal. Ironically enough, he also interacted with the man he replaced, former Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni (an assistant coach for Team USA).

Though he indeed took some time to watch the Olympics, Woodson was not in town to watch his players officially bring home the bacon. Instead, the coach was in Houston earlier last week.

According to my pal Jared Zwerling, Woodson had reached out to his former NBA teammate, Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon to initiate his training sessions with Amar'e Stoudemire. The head coach, along with assistant coach Herb Williams, reportedly both flew in to see how workouts were going up close and personal for themselves.

There are high hopes for the impact these said workouts will have for Stoudemire come next season. After an underwhelming year, Woodson hopes to have the M.V.P. caliber STAT the Knicks were spoiled with in 2010-11 at his full disposal in time for training camp.

The coach appears very dedicated to the development and mentality of his players. Making the effort to have extensive interactions with a number of them, Woodson clearly seems like he knows how to motivate. If all this isn't enough, the team's record to finish out last season should speak for itself.

Aside from simply scheduling and/or initiating workouts to help his guys improve, Woodson isn't afraid to get down and dirty himself, either. This man does not mind putting in the work at all. In addition to his stars, the coach also ventured to California to meet with Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields, prior to them both signing elsewhere in free agency.

The coach met the popular point guard for dinner, and also logged in some time at the gym, running some drills with Fields as well.

The Knicks certainly carry an abundance of high expectations and hopes with them from fans and media alike going into next season. With the pressure already mounting, at least Coach Woodson can say he's putting his best foot forward (along with his players) in hopes of assuring his team achieves success.
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