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
Timberwolves rookie forward Keita Bates-Diop wil see his versatility put to the test in varying roles over the final nine games of the season.

Saunders to test Wolves' versatility in final games

With the playoffs no longer in play, the Wolves will turn to role playing to close out the season.
The Wolves’ postseason plans may be out of reach, but they’ll face plenty of playoff teams the rest of the way — including another contest with

Gas is low, but no talk of Wolves tanking

The combination of injuries to Wolves players and the team's schedule down the stretch could conspire to help the team come draft lottery time. But to a man players and coaches say they'll play hard the final 11 games.
The Warriors' Andrew Bogut dunked over the Timberwolves' defense in Golden State's 117-107 victory at Target Center on Tuesday.

Wolves hot start fades against relentless Warriors

The Wolves shot only 40.4 percent. On the defensive end,they let the Warriors do just about whatever they wanted, burning the Wolves over and over.
The Jones brothers -- Tyus of the Timberwolves, left, and Tre of the Duke Blue Devils -- are keeping tabs on one another, especially with the start of

NCAA tournament is a family affair for Tyus and Tre Jones

Tyus was named Most Outstanding Player while leading Duke to the 2015 NCAA title. Now, perhaps his brother will follow in those footsteps.
Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Kenisha Bell (23) was hugged by Annalese Lamke (41) as they celebrated a victory over Michigan State earlier this month

Whalen happy to keep coaching as Gophers draw Northern Iowa in WNIT

The Gophers get at least one more home game.
Plenette Pierson flexed her muscles to celebrate an and-one opportunity created by Sylvia Fowles during the 2017 season.

Ex-player Pierson returns to Lynx as assistant coach

Plenette Pierson was with the Lynx in 2017 when they won their most recent WNBA title.
Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen spoke with Kenisha Bell during a game at Williams Arena last month.

Gophers women more likely in line for WNIT berth, not NCAAs

The team will learn its postseason fate on Monday night.
Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen spoke to players during a home game in January.

Ice-cold Gophers dig hole, lose Big Ten tournament opener to Indiana

Tenth-seeded Indiana took a 15-point lead in the first half while the Gophers missed all but one of the 15 three-pointers they took in making a quick Big Ten exit.
Gophers guard/forward Destiny Pitts hit a 3-pointer against Wisconsin to open the Big Ten season in December. The conference tournament continues Thur

For Gophers' Pitts, fearlessness is in her nature

In Destiny Pitts, Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen sees a sophomore who never panics, always seems to be the one smiling at crunch time and is never afraid.
Guard Destiny Pitts (3) scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Gophers women's basketball team over Michigan State 81-63 at Williams Arena on Sunday

Gophers women dominate final regular-season game, beat Michigan State 82-63

The Gophers rolled and go to Indianapolis on a high note.
Gophers guard Kenisha Bell was third in the Big Ten in scoring (18.8) entering the weekend. She was tied for ninth in assists (4.3) and third in steal

Bell among four Gophers bidding farewell to the Barn

On senior day, Gophers women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen said she will remember Palma Kaposi's enthusiasm, Irene Garrido Perez's consistent approach, Annalese Lamke's work ethic and Kenisha Bell's heart.
Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen spoke with Kenisha Bell during a game vs. Rutgers earlier this month.

After last-second loss, U women need another streak for success

A weak nonconference schedule and a stretch of seven Big Ten losses in eight games have made the Gophers a long shot to make the NCAA tournament
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns dunked the ball in the second quarter against the Kings on Monday night.

Towns returns with 34 points, 21 rebounds in Wolves win over Kings

Karl-Anthony Towns led a 20-1 run in the second quarter that helped the Wolves overcome a slow start and move up a bit in the playoff chase.
Timberwolves center Karl Anthony-Towns ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • – Minneapolis, MN – February 11, 2019, Target Center, NBA,

Car crash outcome was fortunate for Wolves' Towns

According to Towns, the car in front of them slowed down for another accident further down the road, forcing them to a rather abrupt stop. Then Towns' SUV was hit from behind, he said.
Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon, right, went to the basket as defended by Wolves veteran Luol Deng, who has gone from almost never playing to making many

Saunders takes deep dive into Wolves bench when needed

One of interim coach Ryan Saunders' strengths since taking over the Wolves has been his willingness to make major use of his reserves when needed.
Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo drives against Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins during the second half

Wolves' reserves stand out but NBA-leading Milwaukee puts up 140

The Wolves led by two entering the fourth and then the Bucks went to work, ending the game on a 33-18 run over the final 12 minutes.
Karl-Anthony Towns missed Friday’s game after the car he was riding in was involved in a collision that morning.

Towns unavailable again for Wolves; details of crash emerge

The State Patrol said the Timberwolves All-Star had a minor injury as a result of Thursday's car crash and declined treatment at the scene. He missed a second consecutive game Saturday.
Center Karl-Anthony Towns, fresh off his All-Star appearance, says the Wolves “have to capitalize on the opportunity” to earn a playoff berth.

Wolves have mysteries to solve, games to win as season resumes

The Timberwolves are still convinced that leapfrogging three teams to get to a playoff spot is possible with only 25 games left in the season.
Coach coach Brenda Oldfield (now Frese) hugged Lindsey Whalen after a win over Purdue in 2002. Now, Frese is at Maryland and Whalen is coach of the Go

Full circle: Whalen matches skills with former U coach Frese for 1st time

Maryland coach Brenda Frese took the Gophers women's basketball team from nowhere to national relevance, thanks in large part to guard Lindsay Whalen. The two coach against each other tonight.
Ryan Saunders talked strategy with Tyus Jones during a game on Jan. 11. Jones hasn't played since Jan. 15

Welcome back: Jones could return to Wolves on Friday vs. Knicks

Tyus Jones, who missed 13 games after spraining his left ankle in Philadelphia Jan. 15, returns to a Wolves team that, coming out of the All-Star break, is inching back to health.
Gophers guard Kenisha Bell drove around Penn State forward Lauren Ebo (33) in the first quarter Sunday. Bell shook off an ankle injury to score 17 poi

After early scare, U women run past Penn State to win by 30

Kenisha Bell hobbled off the court two minutes into the game after turning her ankle. But her return set off the Gophers to their highest scoring output of the season.
A victory over then-No. 17 Rutgers generated a celebration from Kenisha Bell and fit in with the Gophers’ run of success.

Whalen revises her tactics with Gophers players

The Gophers women's basketball team has won five in a row. Coach Lindsay Whalen has not just switched the lineup to go small but also her approach to the job, an on-the-fly adjustment she has found gratifying.
Derrick Rose (25) attempted a shot in the second quarter.

Saunders shakes up starting five; Wolves respond with needed win

Luol Deng and Dario Saric started at forward in place of Taj Gibson and Andrew Wiggins. Derrick Rose returned with a big night and the Wolves held off a late-game surge by the Clippers.
Wolves, Clippers coaches reminisce about Flip Saunders

Wolves, Clippers coaches reminisce about Flip Saunders

It was another milestone Monday for Timberwolves interim coach Ryan Saunders, who coached against one of his father's best friends at Target Center.
Gophers forward Taiye Bello (5) blocked the shot of Northwestern's Veronica Burton during Minnesota's 73-64 overtime victory at Williams Arena on Sund

U women roar past Northwestern in overtime for fourth straight win

Minnesota scored the final four points of regulation to force overtime, then scored the first nine points in the extra session in a 73-64 victory.
Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen spoke with Kenisha Bell during a game vs. Rutgers last week.

Whalen's adjustments in Big Ten play have turned Gophers around

A revamped, smaller Gophers women's basketball lineup — Destiny Pitts (5-10), Jasmine Brunson (5-8) and Kenisha Bell (5-9), along with the 6-1 Irene Garrido Perez and the 6-2 Tayie Bello — has gone 3-0.
Minnesota Lynx forward Damiris Dantas (34) was fouled by Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) when Dantas was a rookie with the Lynx in 2014.

Dantas set to join Lynx after Atlanta declines to match offer

The Lynx signed 6-foot-3 forward Damiris Dantas to an offer sheet earlier this week, and Atlanta had four days to match the offer.
Gophers guard Kenisha Bell (23) and Rutgers' Tekia Mack (31) fought for a loose ball in the second quarter Sunday. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@sta

Awful to awfully good: U women dominate 2nd half, beat No. 17 Rutgers

Even now, well into her first season coaching the Gophers women's basketball team, Lindsay Whalen is learning things about her team.
New Orleans guard E'Twaun Moore shoots as Timberwolves forward Robert Covington tries to defend during the second half of a game Dec. 31. Tom Thibodea

Wolves' three-point defense improving under Saunders

When Ryan Saunders replaced Tom Thibodeau the Wolves were 29th in the league in opponent's three-point percentage (37.3 percent). In Saunders' first 11 games they were fourth (34 percent).
Minnesota Lynx forward Seimone Augustus drives past Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas during the second half of a WNBA basketball game Friday, Aug.

Lynx re-sign Augustus, begin retooling roster on first day of free agency

The Lynx on Friday made two early moves in WNBA free agency that likely will not be the last for the team this offseason.
Karima Christmas-Kelly, seen here in 2017 while with Dallas playing the Lynx.

Lynx start needed roster makeover by adding Christmas-Kelly

Karima Christmas-Kelly gives the Lynx a much-needed veteran to add to a roster that must evolve after eight years of relative stability and four WNBA titles..

Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson balancing life's many demands

This tender scene was striking.
Andrew Wiggins

More to come? Rebound surge a good sign for Wiggins

Wolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders said increased aggressiveness on the boards can translate to other areas of Andrew Wiggins game, too.
Jasmine Brunson (21), Irene Garrido Perez (31), Taiye Bello (5), Kenisha Bell (23) and Destiny Pitts (3) walked off the court at the end of the game.

Seven scoreless minutes doom Gophers women to another loss

Minnesota went from a two-point lead over Ohio State moments into the fourth quarter to a 14-point deficit, leaving coach Lindsay Whalen unhappy with her team at both ends of the court.
Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur hit a 3-pointer against the defense of Penn State guard Myles Dread

Kalscheur's 'business' mentality vital to hot start with Gophers

Freshman Gabe Kalscheur has started every game for the Gophers, often taking on the job of guarding the other team's top perimeter player.
Gophers guard Kenisha Bell guarded Purdue guard Karissa McLaughlin

Cold inside the Barn: U women can't find buckets in loss to Purdue

The Gophers shot just 11-for-34 in the second half against the Boilermakers, leading to another Big Ten loss that coach Lindsay Whalen said was not for lack of effort. "Stay the course," she said emphatically.
Derrick Rose spoke with Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders in the second quarter Sunday vs. Phoenix. Rose finished with 31 points, includin

Saunders chose right in riding Rose's hot shooting hand

With a home win desperately needed, Wolves coach Ryan Saunders rode with Derrick Rose on Sunday, who played all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and 22½ of 24 minutes in the second half.
Derrick Rose took the winning jumper over the Suns' Mikal Bridges on Sunday night at Target Center. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • �

Derrick Rose's last-second jumper sends Wolves past Phoenix 116-114

His winning basket capped a 29-point second half against the stubborn Suns.
Karl Anthony-Towns grabbed a rebound in the first quarter against Phoenix on Sunday night.

Foul trouble becoming an issue for Wolves' Karl-Anthony Towns

The All-Star center leads the lead with six disqualifications.
Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves are running out of wiggle room in the West after Friday’s close loss to San Antonio.

The time is now: Wolves look to go on a run before All-Star break

Friday's loss left the Wolves three games behind the Lakers for the final playoff spot in the conference. And Minnesota will play its next four games in seven days, three of them on the road, starting Sunday vs. Phoenix. It's time for a run.
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives to the basket against Suns center Deandre Ayton during the first half of their game on Dec. 15 in Phoenix

Suns not shining so brightly ahead of tilts with TImberwolves

The Wolves have back-to-back games looming with Phoenix, the worst team in the conference. But the Wolves already have lost to the Suns, in Phoenix on Dec. 15, one of just 11 games they have won.
Maya Moore, left, fights for the loose ball against the Los Angeles Sparks' Alana Beard, middle, Nneka Ogwumike during the game that eliminated the Ly

Questions linger after report Moore may sit out 2019 WNBA season

This much is clear: If Maya Moore does not play, it would be difficult news for a Lynx team already in transition with Lindsay Whalen's retirement and other roster issues.
Kenisha Bell (23) was defended by Alexis Sevillian (5) in the third quarter.

Another second-half collapse sends U women to fourth loss in a row

Center Megan Gustafson of No. 22-ranked Iowa dominated Minnesota with 34 points and 13 rebounds as the 23rd-ranked Gophers went from an eight-point halftime lead to an 18-point loss.
Illinois' Arieal Scott and the Gophers' Taiye Bello fought for a loose ball in a Jan. 6 game. To end their three-game losing streak, the Gophers will

After 12-0 start, what's behind U women's three-game losing streak?

The No. 18 Gophers will play host to No. 17 Iowa tonight in a game that's as must-win as can be at this point in the season. What needs to change for the Gophers?
Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns dunked for two of his 27 points vs. New Orleans on Saturday.

Towns' 27-27 performance carries Wolves past Pelicans

The Wolves made the plays at the end they failed to a night earlier to record their second victory under Ryan Saunders.
Timberwolves forward Dario Saric earlier this season.

Wolves' Dario Saric vows to shoot his way out of slump

And he stepped up Saturday with a productive second half.
Karl-Anthony Towns said of Ryan Saunders' coaching debut: “He played chess all night and came out with a checkmate."

Engaged not enraged: Saunders sets new tone running the Wolves

While he's far from making all of the changes he intends to introduce in a bid to shed the 'interim coach' label, Ryan Saunders brought a radically different presence to the bench during his first game in charge.
Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins drives between Oklahoma City forward Jerami Grant (9) and center Steven Adams (12) in the first half

Wiggins scores 40; Wolves win game of 'commotion and emotion' in Saunders' debut

From the first play they scored on, which was one of his father's favorites, the Timberwolves played with passion that led to a 119-117 victory.
Timberwolves interim head coach Ryan Saunders picked up a win in his debut Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

OKC's Donovan: Saunders 'will do a great job' as NBA head coach

Billy Donovan, now in charge of the Thunder, knows what it's like to be a young head coach, and what it takes to succeed.
Illinois senior forward Alex Wittinger, who played high school ball at Delano, blocked a shot by Gophers guard Kenisha Bell in the fourth quarter of t

Brutal second half costs Gophers women in loss to Illinois

The Gophers were outscored 23-9 in the final 10 minutes and lost their second in a row after a 12-0 start to the season.
Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen has had a week to prepare her team for Illinois, and move on from the loss at Michigan.

Response to first loss could tell a lot about Gophers women's basketball

A full week gave coach Lindsay Whalen and her team time to work on what went wrong in Michigan, get some rest, and to focus on the Illini.

Jeff Teague back, but Robert Covington will be out for awhile

On the day Jeff Teague returned to the starting lineup after missing nine games because of a sore ankle, the Timberwolves said Robert…
With two busloads of family and friends present, Annalese Lamke scored 20 points on Friday night for the Gophers in their Big Ten victory over Wiscons

Lamke puts on a show in Gophers' Big Ten win over Badgers

The 12th-ranked Gophers improved to 12-0 by beating Wisconsin for 12th consecutive time, led by 20 points from Wisconsin native Annalese Lamke.
Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen watched as guard Jasmine Brunson defended against New Hampshire guard Sarah Clement in the season opener on Nov. 9 at Wil

Under Lindsay Whalen, Gophers have tightened up considerably on defense

Gophers are among top 20 hardest teams to score on.
Minnesota's Destiny Pitts (3) was defended by Rhode Island Rams guard Maia Moffitt (12) in the first half.

No. 13 Gophers women enter Big Ten play unbeaten

No. 13 Minnesota won its final nonconference game Saturday 91-71 vs. surprisingly pesky Rhode Island. It pushed the Gophers to 11-0 with Wisconsin looming in their Big Ten opener Friday.
Four-time WNBA champion Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve is this year's recipient of the Star Tribune Sportsperson of the Year.

Cheryl Reeve, Minnesota Lynx' transformer in chief

Cheryl Reeve likes to describe herself as the mother of an extended family. She has the players' backs but isn't afraid to kick their butts. Most of all, she appeals to the team by investing the time to understand what the Lynx need to play their best.
Taj Gibson (67) and the Wolves must improve their road record.

Wolves embark on daunting road trip, starting in San Antonio

At 14-17, the Wolves are about to play six of their next seven on the road, starting Friday against the Spurs in San Antonio — a city where the Wolves have lost 10 consecutive games and 50 times in team history.
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dario Saric (36) and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Robert Covington (33) react to a foul call during overtime.

'We just gave it away.' Wolves lose in OT after Detroit scores 40 in fourth quarter

Wolves players and coach Tom Thibodeau were all terse and direct in talking about what went into blowing a 14-point lead and not being able to stop a Detroit team that had been struggling on offense.
Pistons head coach Dwane Casey

Pistons coach Casey bounces around NBA, but always bounces back

Dwane Casey is happy to have landed in Detroit, though he was willing to wait a while after being fired in Toronto despite a 59-win season a year ago.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve.

Lynx open better-paced 2019 schedule against former assistant

The Lynx open against the Chicago Sky, coached by former assistant James Wade, and have no back-to-back games or extended road trips.
Wolves rookie guard Josh Okogie made a spectacular descent from the hoop after dunking in the second quarter on Kings forward Harry Giles.

Wolves return to comforts of home with resounding rout of Kings

Everyone gets into the act as the Wolves' home success continued.
Wolves forward Taj Gibson went up against former teammate Nemanja Bjelica, making his return to Target Center on Monday.

Taj Gibson pleads ignorance on Instagram likes

His verified account approved of two posts critical of his coach.
Kenisha Bell attempted a shot in the third quarter against Syracuse on Nov. 29. Bell scored 20 points on Wednesday night vs. Coppin State.

Gophers women crush Coppin State by 32, improve to 10-0

The Gophers played their second straight game at Williams Arena against a winless opponent and are undefeated through 10 games for the third time in school history.
Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins hit a three-pointer under pressure in the first half Wednesday against Charlotte.

Wolves stronger in mind, and standings, into second Western swing

The Timberwolves appear to have shed issues that fueled earlier 0-5 Western trip.
Derrick Rose scored 50 points the last time he wore the Wolves throwback uniforms; Monday night against Houston, he didn’t score any.

Work on his game is only one part of Rose's improvement

The standard line when trying to explain the rather incredible season Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose is having has revolved around health.
Destiny Pitts (3) drove to the basket in the second quarter.

Defense, solid finish move U women to 7-0 in win over Air Force

The Gophers remained perfect Sunday thanks to a defense that remains stifling and despite an offense that continues sputtering.
The Gophers' Taiye Bello (5) celebrate after beating Syracuse 72-68 on Thursday

Bello winning battle of boards for U women's basketball

Tayie Bello is fourth in the nation in rebounds per game (14.3), fourth in offensive rebounds per game (6.2) and 10th in the nation in offensive rebounding rate (23.1).
Guard Kenisha Bell led the No. 20 Gophers with 24 points, including a spinning layup with 1:14 left to help clinch a 72-68 victory over No. 12 Syracus

Gophers rising: Bell's scoring, Bello's rebounding lead undefeated U past No. 12 Syracuse

Down six points with under four minutes to play, the 20th-ranked Gophers finished on a 17-7 run to raise their record to 6-0 under new coach Lindsay Whalen.
“Every game is a challenge,” said Jasmine Brunson. “But this is an opportunity.”

Challenge? U women's basketball ready for 'opportunity' vs. Syracuse

The Gophers have played well in the early going of Lindsay Whalen's first season as coach. But the schedule hasn't been too demanding. That changes Thursday with No. 12 Syracuse in town.
Lindsay Whalen receives a standing ovation from the crowd before speaking during the ceremony.

'No better place to grow up.' School names gym for Whalen

In the same space where she signed her national letter of intent to attend Minnesota 19 years ago this month, Lindsay Whalen came home to Hutchinson on Tuesday for another special day.
Timberwolves forward Robert Covington guarded Bulls guard Zach LaVine on Saturday.

Zach LaVine elevating his game this season with the Chicago Bulls

Zach LaVine has been confident since the day the late Flip Saunders took him with the 13th pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of UCLA
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32), guard Jeff Teague (0) and forward Andrew Wiggins (22) were dejected following their 103-101 loss to Denve

Poor third quarter dooms Wolves in 103-101 loss to Denver

A six-point Wolves halftime lead dissolved over a third-quarter slump that included missed shots, turnovers and lax defense.
Newcomer Robert Covington joined the Wolves with a reputation for defense, but he knows how to space the floor, too.

For Wolves' three-point shooters, spacing out isn't so bad

Before the Jimmy Butler trade the Wolves were 11th in three-point makes (11.1) and sixth in percentage (37.3). In three games before Wednesday, they rank fifth in makes (12.7) and third in percentage (42.7).
Robert Covington, right, acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade, showed his first-team All-NBA defensive flair in battling with the Pelicans’ Julius Ran

Wolves' defense has improved dramatically since Butler trade

The arrival of new players coincides with a marked improvement for the Wolves.
JaMychal Green (0) stripped the ball from Derrick Rose (25) in the second quarter.

Grizzlies' physical style too much as Wolves' winning streak ends

The clutch-and-grab, bump-and-grind Grizzles made the Wolves play at their pace, shut down their fast break and controlled the game.
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