PRINGFIELD - He had to hunch his 6-foot-11 frame to enter the gymnasium, but the presence of Marcus Camby at the Springfield Boys Club last night brought a warm reception from the crowd of mostly youngsters.
When Camby visits Western Massachusetts, he sees a lot of familiar faces and this time was no exception.
"I still feel at home up here. I'm only 20 minutes away," Camby said. "I'm here a bit speaking at schools."
Right now though, Camby is preparing for his second full season with the Knicks after his game came to life in the National Basketball Association playoffs last spring.
"I can't wait to get started in about a month and a half," Camby said. "I really can't wait."
The rigors of the NBA took their toll on Camby and it took until the latter stages of the lockout-shortened 1999 season for him to show what he had.
"There is definitely a learning process (in the NBA)," Camby said. "College prepares you for a little bit, but the NBA grind itself is wear and tear and the travel is difficult."
But, Camby is ready for that.
"I'm definitely looking forward to (the 1999-2000 season). Last year was pretty challenging," Camby said. "We were playing back-to-back-to-back games and little rest, but we're definitely ready."
And he's looking forward to a full season with Patrick Ewing and Latrell Sprewell.