When his alma mater Syracuse beat Stanford last month at Madison Square Garden, Rautins earned bragging rights over his teammate and close friend Landry Fields for the rest of the college season.
“It was just playing for pride and bragging rights, so I got that the rest of the season,” Rautins said Tuesday at the Knicks facility.
Still, while Fields figures to be the starting two guard when the season starts Christmas Day against the Boston Celtics, Rautins is still hoping for something more than a spot at the end of the bench.
Rautins played in just five games last season, averaging 1.6 points. He was left off the playoff roster when the Knicks were swept by the Celtics.
But after spending time training both at Syracuse with his old teammates and in Los Angeles with Fields, as well as playing with the Canadian National Team in Olympic qualifying in Argentina, Rautins feels he can contribute more in his sophomore season in the NBA.
“I see myself making big contributions to the team,” he said. “I’m able to hit the open jumper. I can come in and give them relief at the one. Wherever coach needs me to play, I’ll play my role. I’m obviously a hard-worker defensively, too.”
Asked to comment on the Bernie Fine sexual molestation scandal at Syracuse, Rautins said, “It’s really unfortunate in all aspects of it, so I’d just rather not talk about it.”
As for his alma mater, Rautins believes the No. 3 Orange can make a deep run despite the scandal.
“Once you get to that [NCAA] Tournament, we were the No. 1 seed for a bit, too, and all it takes is one little slip-up,” he said. “It just depends how well they come together and how good the chemistry is come tournament time and zero mistakes.
“But I think the ‘Cuse can make a deep run.”