(This article was written by one of the high school students who attended Sunday’s Timberwolves game through the MSHSL Student Sports Information Directors program.)
By Thomas Elness
Windom High School Student SID
“We didn’t scare you too much, did we?!,” Don Stoner asked our group of aspiring young journalists. Don, the sports information director at Augsburg College, was one of six knowledgeable craftsmen who shared words of advice with us.
Others on the panel were Jerry Zgoda, Timberwolves beat writer at the Star Tribune; Jon Krawczynski, Associated Press reporter; Dave Schwartz, KARE 11 sports reporter/anchor; Tom Hanneman, Timberwolves television play-by-play announcer; and Aaron Seehusen, public relations senior coordinator for the Timberwolves.
The intelligent and friendly group shared their time with our group. The amount of knowledge pouring out of the professionals was remarkable, and we quickly realized why they are some of the best in the business.
With all areas of the media covered, there was one common ground: hard work. The message was simple, hard work trumps everything. Connections are crucial, but without the time and effort to back it up, they will not last.
The opportunity to be with such great minds was incredible, and their real talk and undivided attention was something that is sometimes hard to come by.
The day, which started at 11 a.m. (for a 2:30 tip), was far from over after that initial meeting. Aaron Seehusen gave us a tour of Target Center, including the locker room, media areas and other often unseen parts of the energized building.
One of our favorite pitstops was the media dining room. Not only were we eating in the midst of some notable media personalities, but we also landed one of the best meals the Target Center staff makes: Pasta bar. “You guys came on the right day,” Aaron said with laugh. We certainly agreed and devoured our fair share of pasta and cookies. Our buddy John did not need any directions to the Diet Coke machine either … does he ever drink that?
We eventually found our media seats, four rows from courtside with one of the best views in the house. Our family members and other guests were seated were not behind a pole, their noses stayed free of blood and the binoculars stayed in the car. The Timberwolves posted them up in the lower level free of charge, and they were very excited about that.
Once the game started, it was easy to see why the Wolves have received so much attention this year. Despite three great players being out of the game, MVP-contender Kevin Love and Luke Ridnour put together a stellar first half, scoring 68 points as a team, a Wolves season record for points in a half.
Love and company held on to come away with the ‘W’ over Denver, 117-100. The game was over, but our real-world media experience was not.
We headed back to the media lounge and Aaron came around the corner to see if we wanted to interview Timberwolves player Anthony Tolliver. ‘We would love to!’ we thought in unison. The three-year pro was a class-act and a great interview. He was happy to answer our questions, even though we were rookies.
The experience put together by John Millea at the Minnesota State High School League and the folks with the Minnesota Timberwolves was one we will never forget and will be talking about for years to come. Not every day will chances like this come and the Student Sports Information Directors program helps turn some of these dreams into reality.
Game Story Written by Thomas Elness
In front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday, the Minnesota Timberwolves put on a show against the Denver Nuggets, snapping a two-game losing streak, winning 117-100. The Wolves were coming off of a double-overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a combined 289-point game.
Kevin Love kept the vibe of the 51-point, team-record game against the Thunder with another solid performance, putting up 30 points and grabbing 21 boards. Love’s dominating year has him in discussion for the MVP award.
Despite countless technical difficulties with the scoreboard and shot clock, the Wolves played through the delays and got off to an early lead, 33-20.
“It was tough,” Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver mentioned after the game. “I think our guys responded really well.” Tolliver was just one of the players to add offense off the bench, playing just over 34 minutes, the third most on the team.
Sixty-eight Timberwolves points set a season high for points in a half. Rick Adelman, head coach of the Timberwolves, was working with a small arsenal, as J.J. Barea, Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio were all out of the game, but that did not slow down the high-powered Wolves offense.
Anthony Tolliver shared his hopes for the remainder of the season after the win. “Hopefully we can continue to work hard,” the Creighton grad said. “Maybe sneak into the playoffs. We just beat Denver, they’re right ahead of us and we’re hoping to jump a couple teams, and hopefully get back into playoff contention.”
Making the playoffs will be an uphill battle; however, it’s not entirely out of the realm of reasonable thought for Tolliver and his teammates. The Wolves are 2.5 games back from the eighth and last playoff spot, behind Houston, Denver and Phoenix. Minnesota has 16 regular-season games left on the schedule to yield a playoff ticket.
With the win the Wolves improved to 24-26.