NBA Draft 2010 : Rautins looks to adjust to NBA game, silence doubters again with Knicks

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first_img Published on June 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ NEW YORK — When Syracuse was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in March, Andy Rautins taking his game to the NBA was an afterthought.Despite leading Syracuse to its best season since the 2003 national title campaign, the consensus among most NBA Draft analysts was that Rautins was a solid college player but lacked a complete NBA skill set. On Thursday night, another opportunity for vindication presented itself for Rautins, a player who is no stranger to criticism.Hours after teammate Wes Johnson was selected by Minnesota with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Rautins went No. 38 to the New York Knicks, drawing more than a fair share of boos and moans from the New York-area crowd gathered at Madison Square Garden. The only ones cheering were Syracuse fans. Though Rautins wasn’t in attendance to hear the reaction, it likely won’t be the last time New York fans show their disapproval.And that may be all the motivation Rautins needs.‘This kid has always had his fair share of critics,’ Syracuse assistant coach Rob Murphy said. ‘Ever since he came out of high school at Jamesville-Dewitt, they’ve been there. He thrives on proving people wrong, and that’s something I think that’s going to carry over in the NBA.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDespite leading his Jamesville Dewitt squad to an undefeated (29-0) campaign and a Class A New York State championship in 2004, Rautins received little attention from Division I schools. He had offers from Providence and St. Bonaventure before finally receiving one from Syracuse. Some believed it was because his father, Leo, had once been a standout for the Orangemen. With Rautins only playing sparingly as a freshman, more doubters came out of the woodwork.Then, before his junior season in 2007, Rautins blew out his knee, tearing his ACL while playing with Team Canada in the Tournament of Americas. The injury forced him to take a redshirt and miss the entire season.‘I set lofty goals for myself throughout the whole process,’ Rautins said Friday on the Danny Parkins show on The Score 1260. ‘I knew what I was capable of throughout the entire time, you know, really worked for what I had.’During his rehabilitation process, Rautins’ dedication and motivation drove him to change his game and become more multi-dimensional.Though primary known as a shooter for his first three years at SU, Rautins spent his time in the offseason playing and practicing with Team Canada in Toronto. Coached by Leo, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard began diversifying his game to shed the ‘shooter’ label. He improved his ball-handling skills while running the point on occasion and became a standout at the top of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 defense.Though Rautins finished his college career ranked second all-time in school history with 282 three-pointers made, shooters are a dime a dozen in the NBA. To make it, Rautins understood he needed to modify his game and become a more well-rounded player. He demonstrated his leadership abilities on and off the floor as a co-captain for a Syracuse team that finished 30-5 and went to the Sweet 16 in March.‘I think his defense is what will really surprise some people,’ Johnson said prior to the draft, adding that he thought Rautins was one of the most overlooked players in the talent pool. ‘His defense, and he’s got the ability to pass the ball and make those flashy passes. His knowledge for the game is incredible. Leo taught him the game, and he’s really starting to follow in his Dad’s footsteps.’Addressing reporters Friday, Knicks team president Donnie Walsh acknowledged how Rautins’ skill set fits in perfectly with head coach Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo offensive system. Since he began coaching in the NBA, D’Antoni has made a name for himself by taking players who weren’t necessarily coveted and has fit them seamlessly into his system. For Walsh, the hope is there for Rautins.‘Rautins is a great shooter who can pass the ball,’ Walsh said. ‘He’s got a very tight game and he’ll be able to play some point guard and some off guard. … I think he will be a combo guard. He can pass, handle and plays the way we play. And he can definitely shoot.’There are no promises for Rautins in the NBA. The reality is that second rounders aren’t given guaranteed contracts and most end up either in the NBA Development League or out of the league altogether in two years.But for how far Rautins has come and for how hard he’s worked, he’s still looking for that vindication.‘Even though people doubted,’ Rautins said, ‘I still proved people everybody wrong and it’s a good feeling to be where I’m at now. But there’s a lot of work to be done, even after you’re drafted.’[email protected]center_img Commentslast_img

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