Jerry Zgoda's Sunday Insider: Stiemsma learned from two former Wolves

  • Updated: November 10, 2012 - 8:37 PM

Associations with former Wolves Al Jefferson and Kevin Garnett helped Greg Stiemsma find the way to success.

hide

Greg Stiemsma played tough defense on the Kings' DeMarcus Cousins.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Timberwolves center Greg Stiemsma's circuitous route to the NBA took him to Turkey and Sioux Falls, Georgia (the country, not the state) and South Korea, where, as it already has been documented in fish wrap, he was exposed to the delights of live octopus soup.

It also acquainted him with two former Timberwolves stars, whom he credits with getting him to where he is today.

From Al Jefferson, he learned attention to detail and the work habits required of a professional.

From Kevin Garnett, he gained the self- respect and confidence he needed to know he belongs in the NBA.

"I learned so much from both those guys," he said.

The Wolves signed Stiemsma out of the D League before the final day of the 2009-10 season so he could spend the summer working out with Jefferson, who was still recovering from knee surgery the year before. The Wolves also signed him in case they needed his non-guaranteed contract to make a big summertime trade work.

He never played a game and was waived in September 2010, after Jefferson was traded to Utah in July and before training camp even began.

But for at least six weeks, the two trained together at Target Center and in Boston as well.

"I was kind of his practice dummy," Stiemsma said.

And low-post pupil, too.

He watched and learned, and early on he fell for Jefferson's famed pump fake during one-on-one workouts.

"I don't know if I ever blocked his right-hand jump hooks, but I could usually get the left," Stiemsma said. "It was a pretty good battle for me and him. We got after it. When a guy like Al Jefferson still is in here working hard on his post moves -- getting after it in the weight room in the summertime -- you've got to know this is your job and you've got to do all those little things that some other guys aren't doing just to be at your highest level."

Stiemsma went to camp with Cleveland that fall but didn't make the final cut. So he ended up back in Turkey for another season in 2010-11 and then briefly landed back in the D League with Sioux Falls during last year's NBA labor lockout. Boston signed him a week before the season opener.

Stiemer, meet K.G.

"I can't say enough good things about my experience there with [Garnett], all the things he taught me, more or less taking me under his wing," Stiemsma said.

"And it wasn't always just pulling me aside and telling me a story. He led by example, and to get to any kind of level of his intensity and his focus and dedication to the game, there's nowhere to go but success."

Not everybody gets on Garnett's good side, but Stiemsma believes he was one of the chosen.

"I don't know, maybe I was just one of the lucky ones," he said. "I just went in there and played my style. I played hard. I didn't come in overconfident or cocky or felt like I was owed anything. I think he respected I did the little things -- diving on the floor, blocking shots -- it took to win games."

Garnett said he removed veteran teammate Ray Allen from his cell-phone directory when Allen chose to sign with Miami last summer.

Is Stiemsma still in there after signing with the Wolves?

"I hope so, although I think he changes his numbers as much as anybody," Steimsma said. "I don't know if many guys can keep up with his current number, but I'm hoping I stayed in the phone book."

  • related content

  • Zgoda's NBA short takes

    Saturday November 10, 2012

    Even when they're winning, the Los Angeles Clippers are, well, still the Clippers.

  • Wolves week ahead

    Saturday November 10, 2012

    Monday: 7:30 p.m. at Dallas (FSN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 8 1st Qtr 5:54
New Orleans 18
Indiana 19 1st Qtr 3:39
Orlando 16
LA Clippers 15 1st Qtr 4:04
Phoenix 10
Minnesota 14 1st Qtr 4:20
Atlanta 15
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 5 2nd Prd 19:28
Team Foligno 5
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 47 2nd Half 5:09
Albany 65
Niagara 43 2nd Half 11:35
Iona 57
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 53 2nd Half 6:38
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 56 2nd Half 3:30
Wichita State 73
(15) Duke 28 2nd Half
(12) North Carolina 38
Miami-Florida 34 2nd Half 14:02
(4) Louisville 40
(21) Minnesota 31 2nd Half
(25) Rutgers 37
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close