Russian pair flash reverence, humor

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 1, 2012 - 10:32 PM

New Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko during media day at Target Center on Monday.

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

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New Timberwolves Alexey Shved and Andrei Kirilenko showed off something of their big brother-little brother relationship demonstration during a joint interview session at Monday's media day.

Kirilenko is 31 and a 10-year veteran back in the NBA after a season away. Shved is a 23-year-old rookie in a strange land and a strange league for the first time.

They play on the Russian national team together and were teammates on CSKA Moscow last season, but Shved has known of Kirilenko for a lot longer than a few years.

Monday, Kirilenko recalled seeing a picture of Shved when he was "5 or 6," although Shved quickly corrected him in broken English that he was more like 12 in the photo.

"He looked very young in that picture," Kirilenko said. "He was holding a jersey of mine. I don't even remember, but I had signed it."

Kirilenko told the story because someone asked Shved to name his favorite player when he was growing up and Shved picked Kirilenko because "he is good player."

Kirilenko made a face at that mention. "Just good?" he said to Shved. "C'mon, give me something."

Night and day?

Two-time All-Star Kevin Love very publicly called for Wolves management to make meaningful changes over the summer and he got many. On Monday, he was asked about a team that has added veterans and presumably has significantly improved its locker-room atmosphere.

"I'm not saying our locker room was divided that season, but some guys had a date circled on their calendar and it wasn't the one that said this is going to be our first day of the playoffs," Love said. "It was, 'Oh, this is the day I get to go home.' I don't think we have any guys on our team like that this year."

Unforgettable

The last time J.J. Barea and Brandon Roy saw each other was in the 2011 NBA playoffs, when Roy reminded everyone of the superstar he once was with a 24-point performance that led Portland to a dramatic comeback victory over Dallas in a first-round game.

"I remember, I remember," Barea said. "He gave us like 23 in a row in the fourth quarter. Hopefully, he'll give us some of that in a couple games."

Bet you didn't know ...

A couple revelations that came out of Wolves players' social-media session Monday:

• Love chose "Wolverine" when asked if he could have any superhero power. "If I could heal quickly, I could go out and play 48 minutes a night," he said.

• Center Nikola Pekovic snagged a 7-pound, 3-ounce dogfish out of Lake Hiawatha this summer, but noted, alas, that his day job conflicts with ice-fishing season in Minnesota.

Wish come true

Love, Roy and Ricky Rubio and other Wolves players on Monday greeted 17-year-old Collin Clarke, a lifelong fan who has been undergoing treatment since being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in March. Clarke attended media day as part of the Make-A-Wish program and received a team autographed basketball and a Love jersey.

He also displayed the sort of optimism that carries over into the rest of his life for a team that hasn't reached the playoffs since 2004. "This team can be really good," he said.

Etc.

• The Wolves officially announced they have hired San Francisco Bay Area announcer/reporter Dave Benz as their new television play-by-play voice. He will call 75 games with Jim Petersen on FSN and Ch. 29 this season.

Staff writer Dennis Brackin contributed to this notebook.

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