Tags Posts tagged with "Eddie Griffin"

Eddie Griffin

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I wish I could have been at the Target Center tonight, but instead I watched part of the game live on my iPhone using the NBA league pass application!!! I have to say that Oleksiy Pecherov is going to be a great player for the Wolves. I even got a text from a friend of mine at the target center saying “I LOVE Pecherov.” As I’ve watched the Wolves over the past few weeks it really seems like all the players are getting a better feel for the Triangle offense. I know this is going to make Kurt Rambis happy as the season progresses. .

As for me, I’ve been breaking down video for the past two weeks getting ready for the NBDL draft which is Thursday night! There is actually a website called www.synergysportstech.com in which Mark Cuban is a major investor. I’ve never ever seen a more complete scouting tool. I can literally put in the name of any NBA, college or NBDL player and then pull up video clips of this player on offense, defense, transition, etc. It makes scouting and preparing for the draft much easier than trying to track down a million different DVD’s to try to learn more about players. I can also stream digital video of full games, international players, and then do breakdowns of every single aspect of what a player’s strengths are. The Synergy System is awesome and it’s only a matter of time before every NBA team and college team is using it.

As part of this scouting process I’m going to introduce all of you basketball aficionados to a very interesting player. I’ve played with two of the best shot blockers ever to play in the NBA in Theo Ratliff and Eddie Griffin. There is a player named Jeral Davis who averaged over 7 blocks per game in college and who recently submitted his name for the NBDL draft! The Utah Flash head coach Brad Jones asked me to do a bit of research on Davis and then asked me what his numbers were. When I said “18 points, 7 blocks, ….” Brad stopped me and said, “Do you mean 7 rebounds?” I said, “It’s hard to believe but he averaged 7 blocks per game!” So, anyway, it’s exciting players like this that make our jobs fun. As the draft unfolds it will be interesting to see what happens with Jeral Davis and if we are able to get him. He is definitely a unique talent given that he is 7’1″ and has a 40 inch vertical jump along with a wingspan of 7’9″. In fact, he never played High School Basketball, but went on to become a dominant college player. It’s up and coming athletes like Jeral Davis that make the NBDL an exciting and productive league in a lot of ways!

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Road Win, Coach Casey, Indiana, Marcus, Mark Blount, Physical Therapy
Tonight we won a game on the road for the first time in about 13 tries. Photo: Sergey Nivens/ shutterstock.com
I shouldn’t have to get excited about this, but hey, tonight we won a game on the road for the first time in about 13 tries. I thought that Marcus Banks had a great quote to describe our attitude towards this game when he said to the media, “I hope those guys back home [were] watching…Kevin, Ricky, Rashad, Troy….we did it for you.” Before the game we learned that Rashad wouldn’t be suiting up tonight due to a severely sprained ankle. Everyone is a little bit beat up, but Rashad’s ankle was really bad; we hope he can make it back in a few days, but we’ll see. Even Marcus Banks had to get some physical therapy.

I watched our Therapist, Andre DeLoya, pull out an electric hammer and basically hammer all over Marcus’ legs and back to loosen up his sore muscles. Behind the scenes in an NBA locker room is watching a lot of grown men on the training table getting treatment for all kinds of injuries. After the game, Coach Casey looked at Eddie Griffin and said, “Well Eddie, should we have a day off tommorrow in Indiana?” Eddie smiled and gave coach an emphatic “yes”. Eddie Griffin dominated the game tonight in almost every way. It seemed like Houston’s players were afraid to drive into the paint and shoot knowing that Eddie would likely block their shot. It will be nice to be able to sleep in tommorrow. These late night flights can really tire you out.

As pro-athletes, a lot of our time is spent on our back, in bed, in our hotel room watching shows like Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper, FoxNews, etc. In order to be ready for practices and games we have to rest…. a lot…..Tonight on the bus ride from the airport to the hotel in Indiana Mark Blount and Trenton Hassell and a group of us on the bus talked about every major news story from the last couple of days including the 911 call in Detroit and probably every other major news topic that’s been talked about. Mark Blount likes to joke around with the younger players and tell them they are part of “Generation W” and they only care about the latest technology and being up with all the fashions. Mark Blount is a GREAT guy to have on this team and has really emerged into a great leader of this team.

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Dwane Casey, NBA, Michael Olowokandi, Eddie Griffin, Kevin Garnett, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Bellanotte, ESPN
Talking about Coach, Teammates, Tv Shows and Other Poeples. Photo: Gil C / Shutterstock.com

We’re almost a third of the way through the season and here are a couple of things I’ve noticed about our team thus far. I believe that Dwane Casey is one of the best defensive teachers in the NBA. The other night against New Orleans/OKC, I looked at the scoreboard towards the end of the third quarter and realized that the Hornets had scored only 36 points to that stage. Part of our defensive success this season, is having three shot blockers on the back line in Michael Olowokandi, Eddie Griffin and Kevin Garnett. Each of them blocks shots using a different method. KG uses his long arms and good positioning, while Kandi has quick feet and uses his height and knowledge of angles to block shots. Eddie has a gift for timing the ball and he is one of the quickest players off the floor. For guys like me and Skita (Nikoloz Tskitishvili), practices in some ways are harder than games because we’re going against three near seven footers every day.

I’ve also noticed that overall we are a pretty close-knit team this season. After one recent game, KG reserved a table for the whole team at Bellanotte and we all went there together for steak and chicken. On more than one occasion the entire team has gotten together for a big meal or something. I’ve been to Bellanotte three or four times this season and I have been to Champps a couple of times too for a burger with friends on my own. It’s great to go out as a team, but the reality is that most nights guys are exhausted and just want to go home and crash or watch ESPN.

We watch ESPN in the locker room too, and sometimes it’s a little surreal when the TV’s on and the anchors start talking about our team. I might be there talking to Wally Szczerbiak or KG and then all of a sudden Sports Center is showing them on the court going to work. Neither of those guys pays too much attention to the media hype that surrounds them and are both pretty down to earth.

Sometimes fans will ask me where I live and if I live alone, etc. When I got to Minnesota I decided to take the big step of buying a house. I chose Eden Prairie because I wanted a quiet spot. I lived by myself in Los Angeles for a little while, but I didn’t like it, so I decided to get some roommates. I chose to go that route here as well. I met both of my roommates through mutual friends, so I knew that they were good guys. They’re probably two of my best friends as well. Having people live with me means that when I’m gone on long road trips, I know the house is going to be fine.

The prior owners of my house were a classy middle-aged couple (we still stay in contact), and they had an amazing artist come in and paint flowers and birds on the walls of the kitchen and the living room. Sometimes when people come over for the first time and see three bachelors living in a house with painted flowers and birds in the kitchen, they wonder if we did it ourselves. I think it naturally catches people off guard a little bit. The honest truth is that I really have come to even like it a little bit. The only other thing that I have considered is painting everything white, which is way too boring. I have no design or artistic ability whatsoever, so that will be one of my projects for the summertime. I need to figure out if I go to a solid blue, black, green or something a little more “in style.”

Have a great week.

– Mark

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Team Rules, Coach Casey, Game Film, Wally, Troy Hudson, NBA, Eddie Griffin
Coach Casey only has a few team rules. Here are the main ones: 1. Be on time. 2. No cell phones in the locker room or on the team bus. 3. Show up to practice in your basketball shoes and your practice gear. Photo: shutterstock.com

One of the new traditions that we have on our team is that after every contest, win or lose, we watch the game film with Coach Casey the next day. Watching the tape is really an interesting experience, because when we go in, we already know if we messed up or did well. So we all sit in the film room knowing when our mistakes are going to be shown. I think Coach Casey really understands the power of watching the games together. It keeps us accountable, knowing that not only are the coaches going to review it, but also the whole team is going to go over the game together. I think it makes us all want to do that much better, knowing that all of our teammates and peers will see the effort level and mental focus we each bring to a game.

It’s pretty funny though during the film session. When we watch, some of us will groan in pain and anguish before our mistake is shown. Someone might volunteer, “I totally messed this one up” as a preemptive strike. Coach Casey also makes an effort to show the good plays and stays very positive throughout, highlighting the times when someone makes a smart play, or shows extra hustle. Even when we watch mistakes, coach never berates anyone, he just calmly explains what could have been done better on that particular play.

We’ve been on a nice little five-game winning streak and it’s been something that we have taken pride in. Coach Casey only has a few team rules. Here are the main ones: 1. Be on time. 2. No cell phones in the locker room or on the team bus. 3. Show up to practice in your basketball shoes and your practice gear (you would be surprised what I’ve seen guys arrive in). If you break a rule you might get fined by the organization or after multiple offenses, you might even get suspended. He also has a system of fines for mistakes made during games that goes into a team kitty. Here is the breakdown: If we miss a block out, we owe $3. If our man goes right by us on defense we owe $3. If the other team’s point guard dribbles the length of the court and scores a layup, everyone in the game at that time chips in $25.

On the opposite side, if you take a charge, you get a little reward from the kitty. Everyone jokes with Wally that he’s taken more charges in the last 10 games than he’s taken in his entire career. In the Seattle game earlier this season, Wally took three charges in one quarter. The other guy who is taking a ton of charges is Troy Hudson. Troy claims that one of the keys to his getting charging calls is that his hair is so long, when he falls it goes into a whiplash effect making the opponent’s offensive foul look more dramatic. I think that any money left over in the kitty goes into the team’s community fund for charities.

We just got back from our shoot-around in Philadelphia. This is Eddie Griffin’s hometown, so he’s looking for quite a few tickets for his family, friends and relatives. Eddie may be one of the most unique players in the NBA right now, due to the fact that he is 6’10”, he can shoot threes, and he’s a monster shot blocker and great rebounder. He is a very soft-spoken person and is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. Last time we played here against the 76ers he nailed seven three pointers and scored a game-high 27 points.

Have a great week. -Mark

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Cleveland, Minneapolis, Rashad McCants, Eddie Griffin, Troy Hudson, Trenton Hassell, Wally Szczerbiak, NBA
We win against Cleveland and we're flying back to minneapolis on our charter plane.

We just beat Cleveland by a few points and it’s midnight and we’re flying back to Minneapolis on our charter plane. I normally sit a few seats behind K.G., so I can hear him laughing a little bit with Rashad McCants and Eddie Griffin about some of the things that the other team was saying during the game tonight. To my right, Troy Hudson is reading a music magazine and Trenton Hassell is playing a PS2 game of tennis. Directly behind me, Wally Szczerbiak is playing PS2 football against our video coordinator.

As for me, I’m still recovering from the nutrition pep talk that Wally just gave me. On Saturday we arrived in Cleveland at 2:00 a.m. and I was hungry, so I popped open the mini-bar and downed about 1,000 calories-worth of caramel corn. I confessed this nutrition sin to Wally (I will remind you that he was featured in Men’s Fitness magazine last season) and he chastised me and gave me a talk comparing one’s body to a bonfire. “If you throw a big log on the fire, it will almost put the fire out at first. But if you put a lot of little pieces of wood in, the fire burns constantly throughout the day. Your metabolism is the same thing” Wally wants me to eat five meals a day instead of three. Every time I eat anything that’s not oatmeal, egg whites or whole wheat bread, he sounds the alarm. Hey, I’m trying to keep some weight on to be able to bang around with the big men in this league. I need to make sure I stay right in my comfort zone of 252 pounds. If I get too light, they’ll hammer me in the paint.

As we jet back to the Twin Cities, I’m reminiscing with Troy about the first trip we were on together in June of 2003. It was on a 747 bound for Kuwait and we were on our way to visit the U.S. Military through an organization called the USO. The USO, made famous by Bob Hope, was conceived to build the morale of the U.S. Military overseas through entertainment. Through the USO, five of us from the NBA volunteered. Normally only the superstars would likely have been invited, but because there were some security concerns at the time, the opportunity trickled down to a role player like me. We were joined by a few NFL players, Kid Rock, rap groups, country music singers, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, Alyssa Milano, and a bunch of other famous people I didn’t know. Troy reminded me that “there were a lot of egos on that plane, but everyone came together like family” in an effort to show the U.S. troops how much folks at home care about them.

One of the first things we did as NBA players was go to three different bases and put on basketball clinics with the soldiers. At one of the bases in Kuwait, the soldiers beat Shawn Marion, Cherokee Parks and Troy in a three-point shootout. The gym got so loud it almost felt like a playoff game. Another day we split up and I went with a group to the former Saddam Hussein International Airport in Baghdad. Kid Rock was in the same group and he got up on the makeshift stage and sang “Sweet Home Alabama” to 5,000 troops in a hanger with tanks and helicopters in the background. Everyone there went crazy and loved it, despite the 110+ degree heat.

I think seeing the U.S. Military in action was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Words can’t describe the respect that I have for the men and women of the armed services. I know a lot of you may have loved ones in the military serving here at home or overseas. May they have a great holiday season and most importantly, may they come home quickly and safely.

Have a great week.



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Minnesota, Timberwolves, NBA Players, NBA, Samuel Dalembert, Thomas McKinney, Eddie Griffin, Trenton Hassell, John Thomas
Minnesota is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. Known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Photo: shutterstock.com

I’m very excited to share with Timberwolves fans in Greater Minnesota and the Upper Midwest a glimpse into what life is like for an NBA player on a weekly basis. I want to show people the rigors of the NBA, the ups and the downs and all that comes in between. Hopefully this weekly diary will give people an insider’s view into what our team is going through in the good times and the bad.

Unfortunately, just as I was gearing up for this project, I had a little bit of a setback in that I fractured my left thumb in a game against Philadelphia on January 7. I was trying to draw a charging call on Samuel Dalembert and hit the deck. From the way the thumb swelled up right away, I knew that probably was not a good sign – but at least I drew the foul! I had surgery the next day and during that process had a couple of pins implanted in my thumb. Additionally, I had my hand placed in a cast. The doctors are telling me that it likely will be a four-to-eight week healing process, obviously I’m hoping for the short end.

In the mean time I’m trying my best to stay in shape. I’m working out every day with our strength and conditioning coach Thomas McKinney. He is putting me through cardiovascular routines and working on quickstep and explosive squat drills. My hope is to come back with better stamina and endurance then I had prior to the injury.

As I write this I can’t help but think how excited I am to be traveling with the team this week for the three-game road trip out west to Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland. It is always a lot of fun to go back to Los Angeles where I played three years for the Lakers. Obviously, I have a ton of good memories from my days there. Additionally, I will get to see my grandfather and a lot of close friends.

I suppose I should talk a little bit about basketball and what our team is going through right now. We entered the season with our team intact from the one that went to the Western Conference Finals a year ago. Plus, we were able to add good players in Anthony Carter and Eddie Griffin. I think right now one of the big things for our team has been the lineup change and the fact that everyone, coaches and players alike are working hard in finding combinations to put on the floor.

We have had a lot of success with one lineup in the past and I think Flip (Saunders) made a decision to bring scoring and firepower off the bench and start the game with a more defensive group. It’s nice to have a player like Trenton Hassell in there because he is such a great defender. To me he brings a dimension to the game where he can lock up such a wide variety of players. Then the other team is going to have to adjust to a great scorer in Wally Szczerbiak coming off the bench. Wally has been so selfless in coming off the bench and has really put up some big numbers in this role. He can score from so many different areas on the court.

After my injury we went out and added a new player in John Thomas. He was with us in camp and was one of the final cuts. John adds a unique dimension to the team as he can bang and scrap and claw down low, but then he can step out and has a soft touch on the perimeter and in the slot area. John has the ability to defend seven-footers because of his strength, in addition to being able to step-out and defend the pick-and-roll.

I’m looking forward to writing this diary each week and will let you know how it goes on the trip out west.

— Mark Madsen