Wolves: Practice is predictable, hotel life bland
- October 2, 2007 - 10:14 PM
New Timberwolves forward Ryan Gomes, a third-year forward acquired from Boston in the Kevin Garnett trade, will offer a daily diary during the team's 10-day training camp trip to Istanbul and London. On Tuesday from Istanbul, he chatted with Star Tribune beat writer Jerry Zgoda by telephone about Day 4 of camp and Turkish television, among other things.
"We have traveled all this way to Turkey, but it's still training camp and it's still the same thing as yesterday: Get up, go to practice, come back to the hotel, head to practice again, come back, go to sleep. Our hotel on the river is great, but we don't get too many channels there, not like back home. There are a few channels, but I don't understand the language. My Turkish is a little rusty. I guess I'll have to work on it.
" 'Bad Boys,' with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, was on last night and I like that movie, but I couldn't understand a word of what they were saying."
"This morning, we had our first scrimmage of training camp, on our fourth day of camp. It has been a little different camp so far than the ones I went through with Boston. We had older guys there and things were more set and we scrimmaged a lot more at this point of camp than we have this year. Right now, everything is still so drills we're doing a lot of drills and learning the new plays.
"If our first scrimmage tells anything, this team will compete every night. We played two eight-minute quarters and one team won one game and the other team won the other. We did compete."
"Corey Brewer and Chris Richard are our rookies, and they've been asked to carry some bags and make sure guys get up in the morning. I haven't asked them to do anything like that. Maybe once the season and November starts, I will. This is my third year, so those guys help me feel a little bit like I've been around. If there's anything I can do to help them, I will do as much as I can."
"Tomorrow, I'll get to see more of the city. Theo Ratliff, Fred Hoiberg and I will dedicate a refurbished school basketball court and do a little clinic for the kids. It's part of the NBA Cares program, and I'm looking forward to getting out and seeing a different part of the city and meeting some of the people here.
Camp update By JERRY ZGODA
Timberwolves guard Rashad McCants sat out Tuesday's evening practice because of cramps in his legs. Veteran center Theo Ratliff, back playing after back surgery in January, also missed the day's second session because of a stiff back. "You hope Rashad isn't anything but a cramp and doesn't have anything to do with his hamstring," coach Randy Wittman said. "During training camp, you just hope you stay healthy."
Wittman chatted with new forward Al Jefferson on Tuesday and said he told the low-post player who was the centerpiece to the Kevin Garnett trade that he needs to be assertive. "I had to mention to him today that I want him to be more of a presence and do the things that he does," Wittman said. "He's a rebounder and the guy can score down on the block. I think right now he's taking a back seat, looking to see where everything is going to fit. He has been a good teammate, but he needs to concentrate on the things I need him to concentrate on. I told him, 'You go down there and do what Al Jefferson does.' "
Veteran forward Juwan Howard is back being a mentor on a young team, just like he was in Denver five seasons ago. "The Denver situation, it was a young team with a lot of rookies learning to play the game of basketball," Howard said after Tuesday's morning practice. "This team is a young team, but it has more experience. You have these young guys who have been in the league two to four years. That right there says a lot. That's more experience than we had in Denver. The rookies you have here, like Corey Brewer and Chris Richard, I'm pretty impressed with their basketball IQ because they've played at a high level in Florida. I like the situation here better, but truly I had a great time in Denver."
Wittman on veteran Greg Buckner, acquired from Dallas on Friday for Trenton Hassell: "He has come in here and really done a nice job. For not knowing anybody here and coming in late, he has been a big help at practice. You don't know how a guy is going to react to a trade like that. It's really nice to see him helping the young guys like he has."
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