Sunday, July 19, 2009 | 2:05 a.m.
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- Scoring record belongs to summer league rags-to-riches story
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- ‘Clyde the Glide’ smooth as ever
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- In different positions, Griffin brothers begin summer journeys
- Milwaukee GM ‘back home’ while leading Bucks
- From a fishbowl to Milwaukee, Meeks could prove to be a steal
- Iranian making his mark on basketball’s highest stage
- Two years after horrific injury, Livingston hopes full circle almost complete
- Former BYU star back on track in NBA Summer League
- One game in, Golden State’s Curry already has the look of a pro
- Back on U.S. soil, Jennings anxious to prove himself in NBA
Wink Adams heard the chants — “We want Wink!”— early in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon against Chicago at the NBA Summer League inside the Cox Pavilion.
However, for the third time in four New York games, Knicks summer coach Phil Weber did not play Adams.
In his dry blue No. 3 Knicks uniform, the former UNLV guard smiled, laughed a little and sat back in his chair, appreciative of the continued home-court love.
“Yeah, I heard them,” Adams said. “Man, they’re crazy. It’s always good to know I have the hometown support. It’s very much appreciated, knowing I have people behind me.
“I’ll get my chance. Just waiting in line right now.”
The only three times in his athletic life in which Wink Adams wore a basketball jersey and did not play a second in a game have taken place on the campus he called home for four years.
Adams, 24, wants no sympathy, though. He wants his legion of fans to mimic him and smile.
“I’m enjoying this whole experience,” Adams said. “It’s part of the NBA. I’m just playing my part now. Over the years, my part on (a) team will be more than it is now.”
Wednesday, in his lone summer appearance against Detroit, Adams missed his only shot, grabbed two rebounds, doled out an assist and turned it over on another touch in seven total minutes.
The Knicks finish their Summer League schedule at 1 p.m. today against Washington at Cox.
“Here you have to play with your head,” Adams said. “You have to be smarter. If you have an open shot, you have to knock it down.”
Yes, he said, the realities of professional basketball can be harsh.
“It can be,” said Adams, flashing his signature smile and laugh. “In a couple of minutes, you can show the wrong thing ... that you don’t want to be showing. A lot of guys are being exposed. A lot of guys are proving themselves.
“Just have to wait your turn.”
As the minutes trickled by Saturday, Adams alternated between resting his chin in his left palm to placing his right fist against his right cheek. He’d sit back and rub his nose with his left thumb and forefinger.
Once or twice, he laughed at an inside joke or comment from a neighboring summertime teammate.
After the Knicks played an awful fourth quarter against the Bulls, Weber blasted his 0-4 squad in a makeshift dressing room in a corner of the arena.
Adams soaked it all in. As the only guard on New York’s summer roster who had neither been drafted nor played a minute of pro ball last season, he knew his place.
Asked what went through his mind as he sat for the duration of another summer game, Adams didn’t pause.
“I was just thinking that I could do some things to help the team out,” he said. “It’s real humbling, but I knew I had guys playing in front of me who have more experience.”
Adams felt comfortable practicing with the Knicks all week at Valley High, where the Rebels were sent to tune up for the Mountain West Conference tournament every March.
He also felt at ease in Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system.
“They like to get up and down, like UNLV ... They run drags, and pick-and-rolls,” Adams said. “You have to be smart with the ball and make smart decisions.”
Maybe it hasn’t worked out with the Knicks, but Adams reiterated that he doesn’t want any of his fans or followers to feel sad for him.
“I never frown,” he said. “I’m always smiling. I’m still the same guy. I’m happy to have been a part of the Knicks’ organization. It’s been fun watching these guys. It isn’t the end of the road.
“I’ll come back next year and, hopefully, prove myself and get minutes.”
Teams in Australia, Germany and Turkey have inquired about him, and the NBA Development League could beckon. Adams is confident he will have options.
After being a spectator Saturday, he rang a friend or two. He organized some pick-up action, maybe at a local high school or a 24-hour Fitness gym.
“To get some shots up and break a sweat,” Adams said. “That’s my workout for the day.”