What an awesome basketball day! I haven't been this excited about the Timberwolves in about a decade, the Lynx open training camp on Sunday and my MN Hustle AAU team plays in the District Qualifier this weekend.
First the Wolves.
Bringing back Flip Saunders into the fold is 100 percent the right thing and as owner Glen Taylor put it one of his worst moves as owner was backing letting Flip go in the first place. Back in the summer of 2003, the Wolves made a free agent splash adding Latrell Sprewell and Sammy Cassell to Kevin Garnett and company. It was the most exciting season in Wolves history and found them sitting two games and a healthy Cassell away from the NBA Finals.
Saunders talked in his re-introductory press conference about game seven of the Sacramento series in 2003 as his favorite memory as a head coach. Ironic that he coached against Rick Adelman and now the two will work for the same team.
One of the biggest statements made in the media briefing was by that of Taylor when asked if having a longtime coach in Saunders "looking over the shoulder" of Adelman. Taylor confirmed that he had a conversation with Adelman this week specifically about that exact issue. His head coach confirmed it was anything but an issue.
For now, President Saunders will focus on getting the Wolves back to relevancy, something that hasn't happened since he left 8 years ago.
The Lynx begin their Road to Redemption tour Sunday when they kick off their training camp. The back-to-back western conference champions have re-tooled their roster adding a pair of guards through the draft and a big piece in Janel McCarville to replace Taj MacWilliams-Franklin. The conference is going to be a tough one to work through and a back-to-back-to-back trip to the Finals is no sure thing.
Finally, the AAU team that I coach plays this weekend and although there are about 25 reasons I am excited to watch them play, there is one that sticks out. One year ago, in the exact same tournament, Nicole Weinmann, a player I have coached for three years tore her ACL in the first game of the Qualifier tournament. She worked extremely hard to rehab and get back in time to participate for Rogers in fall league. I was there for her first game back and she was nervous but excited to be back on the floor and was very much looking forward to her junior season. The following weekend, the unthinkable happened. Nicole tore the ACL in her other knee. To say she was devastated was an understatement. She again went through the grueling process of rehabbing again. So now, really a year after she played her last game, she steps on the floor again tonight. I'm not quite sure who is more nervous. I know she is ready and has done everything to prepare herself. We talked about playing time and ramping up expectations. I know she is going to look at the three to four minutes she is going to play tonight and want more and that will happen in due time. I want her to get through the first two minutes. We will then we'll build from there.
More on the weekend on Monday!