Staff Directory 10646276

Kent Youngblood

Reporter | Pro Sports
Phone: 612-673-4365
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Kent Youngblood has covered sports for the Star Tribune for more than 20 years.

Youngblood covered the Vikings in two NFC title games, Gophers football in two bowl games, both the Wild and Wolves in conference championship series and three Lynx WNBA champions.He has been writing about sports for nearly three decades, including several years in Wisconsin covering the Green Bay Packers, including two trips to the Super Bowl.
Recent content from Kent Youngblood
Houston guard Russell Westbrook drives past Timberwolves guard Jarrett Culver during the second half

Wolves show 'progress' vs. Houston but see familiar losing result

The Timberwolves on Friday turned in a much better effort than games of late. But Russell Westbrook scored 15 of his 45 points in the fourth quarter, as the Rockets held on to send the Wolves to their eighth consecutive loss.
Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders reacts to a call during the first half against the Bulls

Saunders sets expectation for Wolves: Stop digging holes

Coach Ryan Saunders kept a somber tone Thursday talking about what is needed to end a seven-game losing streak — a month after the Wolves endured an 11-game losing streak.
Jasmine Brunson (21) of Minnesota drove to the basket in the first quarter.

Wisconsin beats Gophers women's basketball for first time since 2012

The Gophers allowed the Badgers to dominate the inside over and over again and then went scoreless for most of the third quarter.
Maya Moore, who helped the Lynx win four WNBA titles, said this week she will miss her second season in a row.

Lynx facing second season without Moore, who won't return for 2020

Coach Cheryl Reeve said the two sides have been in touch regularly over the past year, but the discussions have been about Maya Moore's work away from basketball.
Former New York Liberty head coach Katie Smith is joining the Lynx staff as an assistant.

New Lynx assistant Smith calls return to Minnesota 'a really great fit'

Despite a poor record in her two seasons as head coach of the New York Liberty, Katie Smith's work impressed Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, who was quick to offer her a job.
Gophers guard Gadiva Hubbard missed last season because of an injury. As one of just a handful of four-year players on the roster, she has been pushed

Hubbard takes bigger leadership role with Pitts gone from Gophers

As one a handful of four-year players on the team, Gadiva Hubbard she has been pushed into more of a leadership role with the departure of Destiny Pitts.
The Wolves’ Andrew Wiggins shot against Toronto’s Pascal Siakam during his triple-double: 18 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists.

Wiggins' first triple-double not enough for Wolves vs. Toronto

Andrew Wiggins provided a home-team spark but the Raptors shot 51.6 percent as a team. The starting backcourt of Fred VanVleet (29) and Kyle Lowry (28) combined for 57 points.
Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen talks things over with forward Taiye Bello in the second half against Iowa

Life after Pitts: Whalen trying to guide Gophers through troubles

Lindsay Whalen is in the midst of the toughest stretch of her coaching career — one that will influence not just the success of this season's team but perhaps define her tenure in future years.
Gophers women’s basketball coach Lindsay Whalen lost her top scorer — Destiny Pitts — and to No. 22 Iowa 76-75 after leading by 15 in the third

'Blindsided and shocked': Suspended by Whalen, Gophers guard Pitts plans to transfer

Destiny Pitts, the Gophers' leading scorer, said the suspension that has led to her decision to transfer was for "body language" during a recent game against Northwestern.
Gophers guard Jasmine Brunson attempted an off-balance shot after she was fouled by Iowa guard Kathleen Doyle in the first quarter.

Gophers let 15-point lead slip away in 76-75 loss to Iowa

The Hawkeyes took the lead on a three-pointer with 8.8 seconds to play.
The Lynx's Napheesa Collier

Lynx season increases to 36 games, begins May 15 at Chicago

The Lynx will have three nationally televised games — June 7 vs. Los Angeles on ABC; Aug. 16 at Connecticut on ESPN; and Aug 25 at Seattle on ESPN2.
Gophers guard Destiny Pitts (3).

Pitts remains suspended; U women's basketball readies to face Iowa

Leading scorer Destiny Pitts, averaging 16.3 points per game and a first-team all-Big Ten selection by the media as a sophomore last season, will miss a second game as she remains suspended from the Gophers.
Out with an injury, Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns returns to the bench before the start of an NBA basketball game against the Golde

Towns misses 14th game, this time attributed to 'a bug'

It has been an interesting monthlong recovery for Towns, who hurt his left knee Dec. 13 in a game against the Clippers in which he scored 39 points.
Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari slipped past Wolves guard Shabazz Napier for a first-half shot in Oklahoma City's 117-104 victory Monday. Gallinari l

Big numbers leave Wolves numb in loss to Oklahoma City

An unlikely first career triple-double by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, including 20 rebounds for the 6-5 guard, and statistical advantages all across the board led to the 117-104 loss.
Katie Smith defends during a game in 2004. The opposing player is Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who ended her playing career in Minnesota.

Former Lynx star Katie Smith returning as assistant

The move returns one of the greatest players in Lynx history, a player who is still sprinkled all over the team's record book.
Gophers Sara Scalia (14) ran into the defense of Wildcats Abi Scheid (44) and Abbie Wolf (21).

Northwestern buzzer-beater sends U women to 3rd straight defeat

Coach Lindsay Whalen said she was determined the midwinter slump of a season ago wouldn't be repeated. So far, not so good.
Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks, who scored a game-high 28 points, drove past Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague during the second half Tuesday.

Wolves can't handle Memphis guards, blow 14-point lead in loss

Minnesota led by as many as eight in the fourth quarter, but withered against Memphis' high-scoring backcourt of Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant.
Timberwolves guard Shabazz Napier (13) entered Tuesday’s game against the Grizzlies having scored 20 or more points in four consecutive games, but o

Points, minutes rise for Wolves' Napier

Guard entered Tuesday's game with four consecutive 20-point games.
Alan Horton is preparing to announce his 1,000th Wolves game since taking over the job in the 2007-08 season.

Radio broadcaster Horton to call his 1,000th Timberwolves game

The play-by-play man will work the milestone game Tuesday.
Cleveland Cavaliers' Dante Exum drives to the basket against the Timberwolves' Josh Okogie in the first half

Wolves withstand furious 30-4 Cleveland rally to win

The Cavaliers went on a 30-4 run to erase a Wolves lead but Minnesota pulled out the win.
Debbie Saunders and son Ryan shared a laugh during a pregame ceremony honoring the late Flip Saunders in 2018. This weekend, a high school gym in his

Wolves make a team outing out of ceremony for Flip Saunders

Flip Saunders, former Wolves president of basketball operations and head coach, is from Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio. On Saturday, the high school gym was dedicated in Flip's honor.
Wolves guard Shabazz Napier and Warriors guard Damion Lee tumbled to the ground after a first-half collision Thursday night at Target Center.

Wolves fill-ins continue to impress with rout of Warriors

Playing for the second night in a row, the Wolves had plenty of energy in reserve at home.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr argued over a call last weekend against Dallas.

Steve Kerr sees youth playing hard for Wolves, Warriors

The Golden State coach was impressed by Minnesota's play against the Bucks.
The Gophers' Jasmine Powell guarded Ohio State’s Madison Greene the first half.

Gophers can't hold lead as Ohio State snaps U's 11-game winning streak

Up seven with 6:04 left Tuesday, the Gophers were outscored by 10 the rest of the way and held scoreless over the game's final 2:55.
Gophers freshman guard Sara Scalia has warmed to the Williams Arena crowds, and adjusted to making big shots on the Big Ten stage.

With help from Gophers teammate Pitts, Scalia finds her way

Sara Scalia was coach Lindsay Whalen's first-ever high school recruit. Destiny Pitts is a two-time All-Big Ten player. They got to know each other over the summer, when both players lived in the gym, spending hours working out with — and against — each other.
Gophers guard Gadiva Hubbard missed last season because of an injury. She's back and shooting 42.6% on three-pointers.

Gophers looking for better start in Big Ten women's basketball

Minnesota began conference play 2-7 in Lindsay Whalen's first season as coach in 2018-19.
Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen.

Lindsay Whalen pleased with Gophers women's basketball team's progress in 9-1 start

The Gophers play their final nonconference game Saturday before turning their attention to Big Ten foes.
Minnesota State Mankato running back Nate Gunn took a handoff during last weekend's NCAA Division II semifinal at Slippery Rock, when he ran 15 times

Nate Gunn given a shot at Minnesota State Mankato, and it has paid off

The running back has helped the Mavericks reach the NCAA Division II championship game.
New Orleans forward Brandon Ingram grabs a rebound between Timberwolves forward Robert Covington, left, and guard Jeff Teague

Someone had to win: Wolves drop 8th in row as Pelicans end 13-loss skid

Afterward, Wolves coach Ryan Saunders credited New Orleans for playing with desperation, which only begged the question: Why didn't the Wolves?
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns

Wolves hold out Towns against Pelicans to rest injured left knee

All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns missed two games earlier this season because of a suspension, but this was the first game he's missed this year because of an injury.
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns might be missing his third game of the season Wednesday against the Pelicans if his sore knee doesn’t improve.

Sprained knee could sideline Towns tonight against New Orleans

Karl-Anthony Towns appeared to be walking gingerly as he took the court for Tuesday's workout, and he was listed as questionable after a hard fall during Saturday's loss to the Clippers.
Gophers guard Gadiva Hubbard tried to get past UC Davis guard Katie Toole in the first half.

Gophers honor McCarville; Hubbard leads win over UC Davis

A Sunday afternoon that began with Janel McCarville's number raised to the Williams Arena rafters ended with Gadiva Hubbard scoring a season-high 24 points in a 76-67 win.
Janel McCarville hugs Lindsay Whalen near the end of the Gophers' Elite Eight victory over Duke in Norfolk, Va., in March 2004, earning the program a

Time has come for Janel McCarville to be honored by Gophers at Barn

One of the stars of Minnesota's 2004 Final Four team will have a banner hung in her honor at Williams Arena before Sunday afternoon's game.
St. John's quarterback Jackson Erdmann

Erdmann might be best of all in St. John's exclusive 'quarterback club'

Being a Johnnies quarterback is a pretty exclusive club, but Jackson Erdmann has put up some record-setting numbers to lead the pack.
Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw wants more women, like the Gophers' Lindsay Whalen, coaching in her sport.

Notre Dame coach wants to see more females coaching women's hoops

Muffet McGraw's burning desire is to get more women like the Gophers' Lindsay Whalen into college coaching.
Wolves guard Josh Okogie passed the ball under the basket while being guarded by Grizzlies forward Solomon Hill, center, and forward Jaren Jackson Jr.

Wolves continue to struggle at home, fall to shorthanded Memphis

The Wolves have lost four in a row at Target Center, even though the Grizzlies had lost six consecutive games and were missing their leading scorer.
The Wolves' Andrew Wiggins scored at least 21 points in all 11 games he played in during November.

Wolves' Wiggins completes best month of NBA career

In 11 November games, Andrew Wiggins averaged 27.1 points, made 48.3% of his shots and 39.5% of his three-pointers.
Forward Keita Bates-Diop (shown against Phoenix earlier this month).

Bates-Diop waits, watches, responds off the bench for Wolves

The G League product has sparked the Wolves off the bench lately.
The Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns reacts after being called for a technical foul as he is led away from a referee by teammates Robert Covington (33

Wolves look for improvement on home floor

The Timberwolves have been strong away from home but have lost their past four games at Target Center.
Gophers guard Sara Scalia (shown against Montana State earlier in November) scored a career-high 20 points in Minnesota's 101-54 victory over Bryant o

Gophers women score at will to slam Bryant 101-54

Stillwater freshman Sara Scalia led the way with a career-high 20 points as Minnesota won its fifth game in a row.
Gophers guard Jasmine Powell moved the ball around Bobcats guard Darian White (2) in the first half.

Gophers storm back to beat Montana State 71-60 in women's basketball

Down 12 midway through the third quarter, the Gophers finished the game with a 36-13 run over the final 16 minutes.
Gophers guard Gadiva Hubbard, above vs. Milwaukee last week, has scored in double figures the past three games and had 20 her last game.

Hubbard quickly becoming key player again for Gophers women's basketball

Gadiva Hubbard is making an impact after being sidelined nearly 20 months by a foot injury.
Andrew Wiggins (22) scoring two of his team high 22 points in the fourth quarter.

Wiggins' return isn't enough as Wolves drop another at home

Andrew Wiggins was back after a three-game absence. But Utah countered a second-half Wolves run with one of its own for the victory.
Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders

Saunders still adjusting to NBA's new coach's challenge

Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders is 0-4 in challenges this year. "I'm not concerned with a challenge record with things as long as it's strategic with our group," he said.
Rockets guard Austin Rivers and Wolves forward Jake Layman battled for the ball in the first quarter Saturday night.

Wolves boss Rosas misses Rockets' visit to Target Center

The new Wolves boss was scouting in Europe.
The Gophers' Destiny Pitts (3) drives against Arizona State's Robby Ryan (11) on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The Gophers

U women up to challenge, knock off No. 19 Arizona State by 14

Coach Lindsay Whalen was determined to beef up her team's nonconference schedule, and the Gophers knocked off a Sun Devils team that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 last season.
Rockets guard James Harden put up a shot against Timberwolves guard Keita Bates-Diop in the third quarter Saturday night.

James Harden's 49 points send Rockets to rout of Wolves

Again playing without Andrew Wiggins, the Wolves could not muster up a response to Houston's challenge.
Freshman guard Jasmine Powell joined the Gophers in part because of her friendship with Destiny Pitts, her high school teammate.

Prep connection for Destiny Pitts, Jasmine Powell carries over to Gophers

The two players teamed up for a state title in high school in Detroit.
Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Taiye Bello (5) went up for a shot as Milwaukee Panthers forward Lizzie Odegard (45) defended in the first half.

Gophers women shrug off slow start in win over UW-Milwaukee

The Gophers women's basketball team learned a couple things in its 77-61 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon.
Karl-Anthony Towns (32) of Minnesota Timberwolves fouled Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets (15) in the first quarter.

Long-range flubs doom Wolves to overtime defeat vs. Denver

The Wolves shot only 35.1 percent overall and went 6-for-45 on three-point shots — with those 39 misses being the third most ever in an NBA game.
The Wolves' Andrew Wiggins (22) fought for the ball with Denver defenders in the second quarter.

Saunders impressed by team's fourth-quarter defense

A lineup that included Treveon Graham, Josh Okogie and Robert Covington — along with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins — spent the fourth quarter playing some of the best defense fans at Target Center have seen in a while.
Gophers freshman guard Sara Scalia made two three-pointers and had eight points off the bench vs. Missouri State in her college debut on Tuesday.

Gophers freshman guard Scalia starts career on right foot

Sara Scalia, coach Lindsay Whalen's first recruit, was impressive in the season opener. Now, she looks for more.
Gophers guard/forward Destiny Pitts drove on Missouri State forward Abby Hipp during the first half of a 77-69 loss Tuesday.

Paying the price: Gophers women lose opener to Missouri State

Missouri State, an NCAA Sweet 16 team last season, outrebounded Minnesota 41-21 and held the Gophers to 40 percent shooting from the field.
Destiny Pitts, who averaged 16.3 points per game last season, was named to the Big Ten’s preseason all-conference team.

Goal for Gophers women: NCAA tournament bid in Whalen's Year 2

The view from outside the program is lofty, too, given that the Gophers are ranked No. 23 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25.
Wolves guard Josh Okogie tried to deliver a pass while trapped by two Bucks players in the third quarter Monday night. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez

Wolves stomped by Bucks on night when nothing was on the level

First, the game was delayed by about an hour because of a crooked rim. Then, Milwaukee showed the Wolves why many consider the Bucks to be the best team in the Eastern Conference.
The Wolves' Andrew Wiggins (being guarded by the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo on Monday night) is averaging 21.2 points per game, almost two points hi

Wiggins is making strides in Wolves offense

He's taking fewer midrange jumpers so far this season, and he's getting to the basket more.
Coach Lindsay Whalen

Gophers No. 23 in first AP women's basketball poll

To Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen, being ranked is more motivation to follow up on a strong finish to her first season running the team.
Karl-Anthony Towns went up for a shot against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid during a game in January, 2017

Towns just wants a Wolves win, downplays matchup with Embiid

Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid have gone toe-to-toe on the court and off, but the Wolves center prefers to see Wednesday's game as a battle between two teams trying to stay undefeated.
Wolves guard Shabazz Napier reacted after being called for traveling in the third quarter Sunday night at Target Center.

Wolves' Josh Okogie and Shabazz Napier providing big backup bursts

Josh Okogie was a rather monstrous plus-50 in the Wolves' first two games; Shabazz Napier was a plus-35.
As the NBA season begins, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas, left, and coach Ryan Saunders are talking more about the proc

New Wolves President Rosas staying patient, looking to strike

The Wolves enter the season with a remade roster and with Ryan Saunders about to experience his first opening day as a head coach.
Wolves guard Shabazz Napier shot against the Bucks' Robin Lopez during the second half of a preseason NBA game Thursday.

Brooklyn of the West? Wolves have fitting opponent in opener

That the Timberwolves open the regular season Wednesday in Brooklyn is only fitting, considering the Nets influence that is here on the court and off.
Naz Reid

Reid wields familiar skills as a Wolves center

Naz Reid, the rookie out of LSU, shows the same strengths as Karl-Anthony Towns. But Ryan Saunders offers some cautions about what to expect.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve agreed to a new three-year contract. She calls the Lynx “the franchise that I’ve kind of put my life into.”

Reeve agrees to new three-year contract with Lynx

The deal will keep Cheryl Reeve with the Lynx through 2022.
Timberwolves forward Robert Covington grabbed a defensive rebound with authority in Sunday night’s game. He is returning from a knee injury last sea

Covington says knee is 100%, but rhythm and conditioning need work

Wolves forward Robert Covington admitted the process of getting his rhythm back has been difficult, as has been the process of becoming fully confident that his knee is fully healthy.
Godiva Hubbard, during a game vs. Harvard in 2016.

Hubbard stands out in Gophers women's basketball scrimmage

Returning after an injury, Gadiva Hubbard caught coach Lindsay Whalen's eye during Sunday's session.
Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders poses with players, from left: Jarrett Culver, Robert Covington, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Josh Oko

Wolves' pace will pick up for Tuesday's preseason game

When the preseason opens Tuesday at Phoenix, it appears a number of the Wolves' top players will play significant minutes.
Timberwolves forward Robert Covington not only dealt with a bone bruise in his knee that limited him to playing only 22 games last season, but sought

Healthy and happy: Covington's injury struggle more than physical

Robert Covington supplied a compelling flash of honesty at Wolves media day into just how difficult last season was, including the mental-health struggles that came with the knee injury that kept him from playing.
Lynx coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve will be named the WNBA’s executive of the year Wednesday.

Lynx coach/GM Reeve named WNBA's top basketball executive

Cheryl Reeve rebuilt the roster, after losing much of the starting lineup that had won four of the past seven league titles, and took the team to the playoffs again.
The Lynx's Napheesa Collier, who was named WNBA Rookie of the Year on Monday, came over to greet some fans.

Rookie of the Year Collier achieves goal she set at season's start

Over the course of 34 games, rookie Napheesa Collier played more minutes than anyone in the WNBA, flipping seamlessly for the Lynx between the two forward positions.
The Lynx's Napheesa Collier shoots while defended by Los Angeles Sparks' Candace Parker earlier this month.

Lynx's Collier named WNBA Rookie of the Year

Napheesa Collier, taken sixth overall in the draft out of Connecticut, got 29 votes from the panel of 43 sportswriters and sportscasters. Dallas guard Arike Ogunbowale received the other 14 votes.
Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve.

Reeve: Moore's uncertain status won't have impact on 2020 planning

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said she doesn't know whether star Maya Moore will return next season, "I know you'd like it to be cut-and-dried, black-and-white, but I'm pretty sure it's not."
Sylvia Fowles

Lynx need Fowles at her best in WNBA playoffs

Veteran center Sylvia Fowles is the most experienced player who can expect to get major minutes Wednesday. She helped the Lynx win two WNBA titles, winning regular season and league finals MVP in 2017.
Lynx guard Odyssey Sims (shown in an Aug. 16 game vs. Washington).

Sims gives Lynx their winning balance

Lynx guard Odyssey Sims has led her new team in scoring 15 times this season.
Odyssey Sims is among the Lynx playing much better lately in fourth quarters.

Lynx have thrived recently by finishing what they started

The Lynx now control their fate for a first-round playoff game at Target Center, which they can wrap up by beating Phoenix tonight and Los Angeles on Sunday.
Lynx guard Odyssey Sims tried to intercept a pass from Fever guard Erica Wheeler to forward Candice Dupree in the first quarter at Target Center on Su

Lynx turn tables on Fever with potent scoring off bench in victory

Team's resolve in the fourth quarter is enough to top Indiana.