At Timberwolves Media Day 2009 there was a both a lot being said, and nothing being said at the same time. At least nothing new being said. Most of the answers (and questions) were the boring stuff you’ve already heard about the upcoming (and up and coming) 2009-2010 Minnesota Timberwolves. There was the usual, “We need to focus on defense,” and “We’re excited to get out and run this year…” as well as a lot of “In 2-3 years were going to be able to contend…” and the oft-repeated question, “So how does Al look out there…?” That being said there were some good nuggets here and there from a few of the players that took time with the general media.
After Rambis and Jefferson went 1+2 (which I didn’t get much of as I was mostly taking in how the process worked, it being my first media day and all) they had Corey Brewer come over to the general media “station” which consisted of a backdrop screen of Timberwolves logos. (The players had about 10-12 stations they had to go to which included pictures, interviews, as well as team marketing and promotional stuff. If you are wondering what this station looked like it was basically like you see after games with 5 microphones and 8 tape recorders from different media shoved in the players faces. ) In any case I got right up close to Brewer who was to put it lightly not that exciting. A man of few words you might say. This quote pretty much summarizes what Corey had to say:
“I feel good. I feel like the knees almost back to normal, feel like I’m running back to normal, so just hope we get to get out this year and run. It puts a smile on my face, ya know, when I hear running, and get out, ya know its fun for me cause its what I like to do and hopefully it can make my game go to the next level.”
I asked Corey specifically about how Rambis had mentioned last week that he was already working on getting him balanced on his shot and he said that he felt like “his shot was getting better this summer but you never really know until that first game.” If he’s not sure what’s going to happen in a game, I can’t really imagine it is too much improved from last season.
Just for some perspective, Corey’s general media interview lasted 3 minutes, Ryan Gomes went 12+, Jonny 11, Love 7 (he was pulled away for photos) and Ramon 5. For both Corey and Ramon the media basically ran out of questions.
The reason Ryan went the longest? Let’s just say he loves to be behind the mic. Here was his opening exchange:
Ryan Gomes: That guy Ryan Gomes, that’s the first question, I mean he’s an interesting guy, you know he’s been doing a lot today, he’s been walking around with microphones, doing pictures, and audio, doing all types of stufff, how do you think he’s been doing?
Randy Shaver: So far so good.
Gomes: Thank you.
Shaver: Good interview with Jonny Flynn.
Gomes: Good Interview? Oh… yea, it was ok, I mean he could have got a little bit better at that but uh, it’s alright.
I also like his answer when asked about if he was even able to keep track of all of the team’s moves this summer: “Man you know I was on Timberwolves.com, ESPN.COM, Hoops Hype, every day just trying to see what was going on.”
I thought his savviest answer came when he was asked about what kind of camp he was expecting: “I think its gonna be an intense camp. I’m expecting probably a conditioning camp, especially with the style we want to play now is more up and down, so you know you want guys to be running the lanes and running the floor and push yourself to the level past when you think your tired, so I think that will be instilled… He told us he comes from a coach in Riley who’s known for his workouts and known for his preparation and preparing guys to play I think he’ll take that from him and then you know offensively and defensively he’ll take the mindset of [Coach Phil] Jackson and more letting the players think out there and doing things, putting you in a set but know how your guys defending you and do that type of stuff.
A lot of Ryan’s answers centered around proving what both he and the team are able to do this year (rather than focusing on 2-3 years from now, etc.) and making strides this year and steps in the right direction by being committed each and every day and with consistency to work hard. I thought this was good and showed good focus from a guy who is going to be a leader in the locker room.
I asked him about what he’s been working on in the gym this summer (it’s been said he turned into a gym rat):
“Off the dribble, you know one-two dribble moves, shooting the ball, I don’t know if I’m going to play some 4, I think I’ll probably play a little bit of 4, so pick-and-pop, stuff like that, so just more shooting and you know my free throw percentage was down last year so working on that also, and finishing in the paint, cause I didn’t do a good job of that last year also.”
In other words, a little better than “You never know until the first game.”
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by Ryan who was both funny and sharp with his answers. I didn’t realize he had such a good personality and can’t help but think he is a great guy to have in the locker room.
Coming up in Part II: Jonny Flynn, Kevin Love, and Ramon Sessions.