Photo by Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune

Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng spends a significant part of his free time working to improve the lives of people in his native Senegal – and the NBA is recognizing him for his efforts.

Dieng was named the recipient of the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his work providing health care and combating hunger in Senegal. The award, presented by Kaiser Permanente goes to player for their charity work from the end of the regular season to the start of the new season.

Dieng worked with the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Matter to hold a fundraiser in April designed to assists in Dieng’s efforts to provide better medical care and help teach the latest farming techniques for sustainable agriculture at program called Regenerate Senegal at the Gorgui Dieng Center for Agricultural Excellence.

Dieng sent 300,000 IV bags to Senegal and visited a neonatal hospital that benefited from his donations.
“Using my platform to give back to my home country and help those in need is special for me,” Dieng said in a statement. “We have a lot of work in front of us, but I am proud of the lives we have positively impacted and humbled to know future generations will benefit from the resources we have provided. Thank you to MATTER and Timberwolves season ticket holders Roger and Nancy McCabe for their commitment and dedication to our endeavor to build a sustainable future for the children of Senegal.”


Here are some updates from today's morning shootaround:

--Point guard Jeff Teague, still ill, will miss his second straight game for the Wolves, according to coach Ryan Saunders. Point guard Shabazz Napier (hamstring) is listed as doubtful while post player Jordan Bell (shoulder) is listed as questionable. 

--Saunders said the injures -- and the new faces that replaced Teague, Napier and Bell in the rotation -- contributed to the defensive problems the Wolves faced in their loss at Memphis. Those defensive problems -- especially on defense -- have been worked on, and hopefully worked out, Saunders said. 

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