Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Beasley: "I feel like we need a leader...I think I can be that guy."

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves players, Adrian Peterson, Vikings draft, Wolves news Updated: October 24, 2011 - 1:48 PM

In the end, Michael Beasley’s “All Star Classic” became more of a friends and acquaintances thing.

Organizers promoted appearances by Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and other NBA stars, but Friday’s turnout at Osseo High included several of Beasley’s Timberwolves teammates, Golden State’s Dorell Wright, a collection of summer-league players and former WNBA player Tamara Moore in one of those typical 179-170 pickup games won by Team Beasley over the Visitors.

If you’re a Timberwolves fan thinking long term, the most important presence might not have been a player, though, but one of the celebrity coaches.

And I’m not talking Adrian Peterson.

Former Lakers guard Norm Nixon was there to support Beasley, with whom he has worked much of this prolonger NBA summer.

Nixon was Jalen Rose’s agent when David Kahn worked for Indiana.

After seeing that relationship work, Kahn reached out to Nixon last spring and asked him to work with Beasley over the summer both on and off the court.

Despite the June drafting of Derrick Williams, it’s obvious Kahn still is investing a lot in helping Beasley all he can be.

The hiring of Portland assistant Bill Bayno seems like one indication.

Nixon’s presence certainly is another.

Nixon’s influence can be seen in Beasley’s slimmer and more flexible body. Nixon’s wife is Debbie Allen, the actress, director and famed choreographer who owns an L.A. dance studio and Nixon and Beasley spent time there this summer applying the stretching elements of dance to Beasley’s body.

Included one day was a lesson from a prima ballerina with the Bolshoi.

“When you start teaching guys and make them understand better about their bodies, they become better pros,” Nixon said.

He also has mentored Beasley – who was ticketed for marijuana possession in June and pushed a fan in the face during a streetball game in New York City in August – away from the court.

Nixon has pushed Beasley to tighten the circle of people around him.

“You have seen Michael’s talent, I don’t think there’s a question about the talent,” Nixon said. “What most people don’t realize is he’s 22. He’s just a kid. When young guys come into the league at 18, 19, they’re more comfortable having people around them. I think as you mature and get older, you need to peel some of that entourage off. He’s getting to the stage now where he’s getting to be a leader on this team.

“I think when you have too many distractions off the court, you can’t lead the way you should. One of the things I’m trying to get him to do is be more focused and get that entourage smaller, so he can focus on what he needs to do to lead this team.”

Beasley said one step to becoming that leader is becoming more active in the community where he plays, and thus Friday night’s game.

“I feel like we need a leader,” Beasley said.  “We’ve got a young talented group and all we need is the right coach and the right floor general…

“I want to be, I think I can be that guy.”

Some other things from Friday’s game:

·         * Beasley did look noticeably slimmer.

He said he played last season around 240 and now after a summer of experimenting with ballet and yoga is about 225, a change he said is intended to help him prolong his career.

“I never had fat,” he said. “I’m just more prepared now.”

He played in pal Kevin Durant’s charity game that included LeBron James in Oklahoma City on Sunday and went out and scored a game-high 56 points.

·        *  Anthony Randolph looks a little thicker after a prolonged summer spent working out. You can see he’s more defined, but he’s still a skinny dude.

It’ll be interesting to see how much Rick Adelman plays him at center. Adelman certainly will have options because he can play Love at power forward and center, Derrick Williams at both forward spots and Randolph at all three frontcourt positions. Beasley’s weight loss – and the additions of Randolph last February and Williams in the draft – suggests he’ll play almost exclusively at small forward now.

·       * Randolph, Wes Johnson and Lazar Hayward all have used this uncertain summer to go back to college. Randolph returned to classes at LSU this summer, Johnson is back at Syracuse and Hayward has gone back to Marquette.

“Back to school, working out, spending time with my family,” Randolph said about his long summer. “I love my family to death, but I’m used to get ready for the season right now. Right now, it’s a little disappointing. When it got to a certain point, I started going to two a days because it felt weird not working out or playing and practicing every day.”

You’d think a guy like Hayward – the last player taken in the 2010 first round, just one pro season under his belt – is hurt most by this lockout, but he said he prepared for it the best he could.

“We had to be ready,” he said. “They (union officials) were reminding us like every other day, `Save money, save money, save money.’ Even if I didn’t want to, I probably would have because it was in my ear all the way.”

·         * Love didn’t play Friday, but Golden State’s Dorell Wright has been working out with him, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbook and others regularly in L.A. and can attest to what it looks like from Love’s television and Youtube appearances recently:

The guy’s lost a little weight.

“A little?” Wright asked. “He’s lost a lot of weight. He looks real good. I’m happy for him. He’s coming off a real good year and it’s just going to give him longevity. It’s not for now. It’s for four or five years down the road in this league. That’s a lot of hard work and dedication right there. You’ve got to be really focused on your diet and stay strong. I’m a skinny dude but I like to eat snacks. I know that’s a lot of discipline right there.”

None of the Wolves present on Friday have seen Ricky Rubio since he arrived in L.A. for workouts a couple weeks ago, but he made an impression on Wes Johnson when the two played in pickup games at Target Center after the draft in June.

“I mean his passes are incredible,” Johnson said. “The passes he made, it’s going to be fun to play with him.  He told me to be ready for them. He kept calling my name, `Wes, be ready.’  I was ready.”

Johnson has gotten a much better look at Derrick Williams.

Johnson, Hayward and Williams worked out together throughout the summer.

“What people don’t know is his skill level is really high,” Johnson said. “He can play with his back to the basket and he can shoot it real good, too.”

And Beasley will attest to Williams’ work ethic.

“He’s really a workaholic,” Beasley said. “If you want to see that guy, you’ve got to meet him at the gym.”


Philadelphia 3:30 PM
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Phoenix 12:00 PM
New York
Portland 6:00 PM
New Orleans
Utah 6:00 PM
Atlanta 7:00 PM
San Antonio 7:30 PM
Indiana 8:00 PM
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Arizona 3:00 PM
Los Angeles
Colorado 6:00 PM
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Florida 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Chicago 6:00 PM
Nashville 7:00 PM
Calgary 9:00 PM
St. Louis 9:30 PM
San Jose
VA Commonwealth 11 1st Half 13:52
Cincinnati 6
Charlotte 8 1st Half 14:28
Georgetown 16
SMU 15 1st Half 13:35
Michigan 10
Louisville 12 1st Half 13:59
Western Ky 10
Mount St Marys 12:00 PM
American Univ
Abilene Christian 12:00 PM
Boise State
UMass Lowell 12:00 PM
South Alabama 12:00 PM
Ohio State 12:00 PM
North Carolina
Massachusetts 12:00 PM
Syracuse 12:00 PM
Citadel 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Belmont 12:30 PM
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Montreat 1:00 PM
Delaware 1:00 PM
South Florida 1:00 PM
Florida State
Vanderbilt 1:00 PM
Georgia Tech
SC State 1:00 PM
Missouri 1:00 PM
Truett-McConnell 1:00 PM
Toledo 1:00 PM
McNeese State
Elon 1:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Drexel 1:00 PM
Penn State
St Francis-PA 1:00 PM
Albany 1:00 PM
PSU-Beaver 1:00 PM
Eastern Ill 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Indiana 1:30 PM
Marshall 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
Lafayette 2:00 PM
Oral Roberts 2:00 PM
Western Mich 2:00 PM
Delaware State 2:00 PM
Fla Atlantic 2:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Arkansas Tech 2:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Howard Payne 2:00 PM
UMBC 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
St Josephs (IN) 2:05 PM
Chicago State
Eastern Mich 2:05 PM
Missouri State
UCLA 2:30 PM
UC Davis 3:00 PM
Air Force
Houston Baptist 3:00 PM
UC Riverside
Davidson 3:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
USC Upstate 3:00 PM
Miss State
NC Central 3:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Illinois State 3:00 PM
Murray State
Louisiana 3:00 PM
Northwestern St
Oakland 3:00 PM
Detroit 3:00 PM
Rhode Island
Presbyterian 3:00 PM
UT Martin
Monmouth 3:00 PM
Southern U 3:00 PM
Iowa State 4:00 PM
Wake Forest 4:00 PM
High Point 4:00 PM
James Madison
Texas Southern 4:00 PM
Michigan State
New Hampshire 4:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Northeastern 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
Huston-Tillotson 4:00 PM
Texas State
Purdue 4:15 PM
Notre Dame
Prairie View 4:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Xavier 5:00 PM
Bluffton 6:00 PM
NJIT 6:00 PM
Central Conn St
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Iona 6:00 PM
George Mason
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Texas A&M 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Morgan State 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs 6:00 PM
East Carolina 6:00 PM
Richmond 6:00 PM
La Salle 6:00 PM
Incarnate Word 6:05 PM
CS-Bakersfield 6:30 PM
Idaho State
Iowa 6:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Long Beach State 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St 7:30 PM
Lehigh 8:00 PM
Arizona State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Oklahoma 8:00 PM
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Weber State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
St Edwards 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
NC State 8:30 PM
West Virginia
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
Fresno State 9:00 PM
Montana State 9:00 PM
Ball State 9:00 PM
San Diego St
South Dakota St 9:05 PM
Utah State
Stanford 10:00 PM
Utah 10:30 PM
Nevada 3 2nd Qtr 0:39
Louisiana 10
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Livingstone 4 1st Half 17:06
UNC Greensboro 7
Loyola-Chicago 8 1st Half 15:10
Dartmouth 7
Georgia Tech 2 1st Half 15:55
St Francis-NY 4
Auburn 8 1st Half 13:00
St Johns 11
East Tenn St 9 1st Half 15:52
Jacksonville St 6
Western Mich 5 1st Half 15:56
Detroit 4
Cal-Irvine 6 1st Half 14:24
Wright State 11
Gardner-Webb 8 1st Half 15:55
Kennesaw St 2
(7) Stanford 12:00 PM
(11) Tennessee
Alabama A&M 12:00 PM
Ole Miss
Central Michigan 12:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Nebraska Omaha 12:00 PM
FIU 12:00 PM
Western Carolina
Houston 12:00 PM
St Thomas Aquinas 12:00 PM
St Bonaventure 12:00 PM
Texas State 12:00 PM
George Mason 12:05 PM
Grambling 1:00 PM
Kansas State
Missouri 1:00 PM
Wake Forest
Robert Morris 1:00 PM
Air Force 1:00 PM
Abilene Christian
Hampton 1:00 PM
James Madison
American Univ 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Texas Southern 1:00 PM
Tenn Tech 1:00 PM
Presbyterian 1:00 PM
NC Central
Penn 1:00 PM
Lipscomb 1:00 PM
Vermont 1:00 PM
Green Bay
Charleston Southern 1:00 PM
Ohio Christian 1:00 PM
Jacksonville 1:00 PM
Murray State
(17) Rutgers 1:00 PM
Indiana 1:00 PM
Indiana State 1:30 PM
Denver 1:30 PM
TX-San Antonio 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
UCF 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Campbell 2:00 PM
Florida A&M 2:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Northwestern St 2:00 PM
Jackson State
Lehigh 2:00 PM
Arizona State
Valparaiso 2:00 PM
Toledo 2:00 PM
Southern Ill
Liberty 2:30 PM
Wofford 2:30 PM
North Florida
Montana State 3:00 PM
Washington St
Marshall 3:00 PM
(22) West Virginia
Morgan State 3:00 PM
Northeastern 3:00 PM
Furman 3:00 PM
(15) Georgia
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(9) Baylor
Ohio U 3:00 PM
Prairie View 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
High Point 3:00 PM
(12) Nebraska
Winthrop 3:05 PM
Wichita State
William Jewell 3:30 PM
Louisiana Tech 4:00 PM
Southern Utah 4:00 PM
Hawaii 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
San Jose St 4:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Northridge 4:00 PM
San Diego State
Norfolk State 4:00 PM
East Carolina
Saint Peters 4:00 PM
Arizona 4:30 PM
Stephen F Austin
Northwestern 4:30 PM
Eastern Illinois
Oral Roberts 5:00 PM
Florida Atlantic 5:00 PM
New Mexico St
La Salle 5:00 PM
Georgia State
(16) Oregon State 5:30 PM
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Delaware 6:00 PM
Troy 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Washington 7:00 PM
Pacific 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Old Dominion 7:00 PM
Austin Peay 9:00 PM
Lewis-Clark State 9:00 PM
(21) Miss State 9:30 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question