Tags Posts tagged with "Marko Jaric"

Marko Jaric

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Minnesota, Win, Rashad McCants, Al Jefferson, Turkey , training camp
We win our first game in front of our home fans in Minnesota. Photo: Brocreative
We finally won our first game and it happened to come in front of our home fans in Minnesota. We had a lot of guys step up in the win. Rashad McCants had 30 points, Al Jefferson had his normal dominant performance and Antoine Walker had a huge game in crunch time to put us over the top. Marko Jaric made a ton of hussle plays. I wanted to talk a little bit about the game.

We were in Turkey for training camp which was going long and hard. Late in one practice session, Rashad McCants stole the ball and then took off down court for a dunk. All of a sudden, he stopped dribbling and staggered off the court in obvious pain. He strained his hamstring and then was on the injured list for a few days. Even earlier this season, he tweaked his ankle and had to sit out. I watched Rashad work tirelessly in the training room to get healthy to come back ASAP to help the team. Rashad is mentally tough and has a huge heart and he showed that once again tonight. Rashad is a team player first whose intelligence about the game reminds me of my old Lakers teammate Robert Horry.

In all my years of playing basketball you’re always taught not to go for pump fakes of opposing players. Especially when an opponent is trying to post you up, you never want to jump in the air to block the shot. It just puts you too much at risk for a foul. I’ve only been on the same team with Al Jefferson for two months, but I have never seen a post player get so many of his defenders up in the air and then just drive past them. Each game, I know it’s going to happen that he gets his post defender jumping in the air like a pogo-stick. The other day in practice I told Al, that I’ve never seen a player get so many defenders to go for his fake as does. Al told me that he learned his fake from Paul Pierce and their years together in Boston. Tonight was no different as Al got people in the air and utilized his signature, go-to move of the soft jump hook that seemed to be unstoppable.

Another old Celtic really stole the show in tonight’s game. We got Antoine Walker in a trade from the Heat and he was huge for us. I’ve enjoyed practicing with and against Antoine in practice every day. Antoine Walker is a three time all-star in the NBA and he gives so much energy and attention in practice every day that it’s kind of revitalizing to everyone on the team. I knew Antoine Walker the three point shooter, rebounder, great post up player and ball-handler, but the Antoine Walker I didn’t know is the player who knows every defensive rotation like the back of his hand. In the fourth quarter tonight Antoine floated a difficult 10 foot floater over the Sacramento defense that brought the crowd to their feet in the Target Center. When he came to the bench a fan yelled out, “Antoine, let’s see the shimmie!” I looked over and I saw Antoine smile and then just chill. I think he’s saving the shimmie for bigger and better things for the Timberwolves this season. Having a true veteran like Antoine on our team helps everyone from 1 to 15.

For a little more background on Antoine, (and the origin of the shimmie), you can go to his official website at

Well, that’s all here. I should receive the medical clearance soon to play. When I get it, I hope to earn my way back onto the court to help my team in any way possible.

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Summer Vacation, Physical, Champlin, Arn Tellem, NBA Athletes, Basketball Trip
Our team member will report to a local medical facility for our “exit physicals” and then the season will officially be over.

This coming Thursday, every member of our team will report to a local medical facility for our “exit physicals” and then the season will officially be over. We will be left with a long summer vacation to mull over what we could have done better and how we will prepare for next season. My summers normally constitute working out with weights, running and improving on my basketball skills, as well as a few other activities that I’m looking forward to.

Last summer I did my first ever youth basketball camp in Champlin, Minn. There were about 40 kids who came to the camp, and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Because I do want to become a coach when I am done playing, it’s a great opportunity for me to learn about coaching and how to work with kids. One of the reasons I did the camp last summer for the first time is because of a story that my mom told me. When my mom was growing up in Long Beach, Calif., she was involved in the orchestra group at her school and she loved to play the violin. There were many devoted leaders and mentors in the area involved in music, and they sponsored summer camps, one of which was called Arrowbear. My mom says that the orchestra programs throughout Southern California were all huge and very strong, because there was so much support locally from teachers and retired musicians, who simply wanted to share their gifts and experiences. I really hope that through involvement in this camp, I can in some way help promote the game of basketball and create positive memories for the kids that attend.

Another summer activity that I hope occurs involves my basketball agent, Arn Tellem. Arn represents around 100 NBA athletes, including Kobe Bryant, Antawn Jamison, Tracy McGrady and others. Mr. Tellem is Jewish and last summer he planned a basketball trip to the Middle East where for about a week, a group of players would go to cities like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other areas to hold clinics for Palestinian and Jewish basketball players. His vision is that there would be several camps/clinics

where he would bring together Muslims, Christians and Jews through basketball and try to build bridges between the groups. Arn invited many of the players that he represents to fly over with him. The response was overwhelming and many players committed immediately. At the last minute the trip had to be cancelled due to an escalating security issue, but there is talk of trying to make the trip this summer. I think that would be a fantastic experience.

Even though it’s been a tough season, we’ve still tried to keep it loose. A few days ago in Indianapolis, Trenton Hassell was counting out loud the number of tickets he needed to leave for family members. “Eight plus three is 11, plus three is 14, plus…” Marko Jaric thought he heard an addition mistake during the process, so he smiled and called out, “The high schools in Europe are as good as the colleges here.” Trenton laughed and reminded the whole locker room that “Marko didn’t even go to high school. He went to ‘basketball school’ instead,” which is common for young professional athletes in Europe. Then Trenton took it one step further and said, “Marko if you’re so smart, then what’s the square root of 169?” “What does that mean?” Marko said. Finally, a teammate went up to the dry-erase board and wrote it up in math lingo and Marko got it right and laughed out loud and said, “Your terminology in the states is different!”

I wanted to thank all of you for taking the time to read this diary and I especially want to thank this newspaper for publishing it. I hope it’s given you an insider’s view of the NBA. I’ll keep on writing this summer on my blog at markmadsen.com. Have a great summer!

– Mark

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Emails, Kristin k., Marko Jaric, Michael Olowokandi, Kevin Garnett
Answer of email about Player and stats. Photo: shutterstock.com

Every month I will answer a few emails that I receive so here is our monthly installment.

“What are the off-the-court personalities like of your teammates?”

Kristin K.
U. of Minnesota

Kristin, I’m glad you asked me about my teammates. Let me first speak about two Europeans and then two players who go by two letters only: KG and A.C.

Marko Jaric: Six years ago I played on the same team with Marko at the NBA pre-draft workout in Chicago. Marko was such a good passer that he made everyone else on the team look like an all-star. He pretty much got two of us drafted in the first round: myself and Primoz Brezec (Charlotte Bobcats). Marko used to always joke with me that he is responsible for getting me two rings with the Lakers. He might actually be right. That’s what Marko does…he makes people better.

Michael Olowokandi: Michael was living London when he decided he wanted to go to school in the US. He picked up a college magazine, found University of Pacific at the top of the list and called the coach on the phone. Imagine if you’re a college coach of a small school in Stockton, Calif., and an athletic 7-footer comes calling! I imagine that coach focused on the word “Pacific” rather than the fact that the beach is at least two hours away! When I was on the Lakers, Phil Jackson used to always tell Brian Shaw he should go to law school because in team meetings Brian could argue any point and by the time he was done talking everyone was on his side! I put Michael in this category. Michael once told me that he subscribes to The Economist and The New Yorker. He is probably one of the smartest players in all of professional sports, and has been playing at a very high level.

KG: On every team there is a hierarchy and KG is the undisputed number one on our team. On the court, KG will expend every ounce of emotional and physical energy. But what makes KG truly great is that he gets everyone else to give their whole self as well. One time during a game, he got so excited that we almost head butted each other while he was yelling encouragement. Another time he thought I wasn’t paying attention during a shootaround so he put me on the spot and said, “Dog, how are we going to defend Sacramento’s ‘out’ play?” Luckily I had been listening because I gave the right answer. KG is a vocal leader who leads by example. After certain losses I’ve seen him call guys out in a very vocal way and I’ve also seen him walk in and pat guys on the head and say, “There are better days ahead.” One thing with KG is that when he does get on you, it’s never personal, he just wants to win. KG just donated 1.2 million dollars to rebuild homes in New Orleans. His heart is gigantic on and off the court.

Anthony Carter is a true professional. He is one of my closest friends on the team. We stayed in touch off and on over the summer and during training camp two years ago we always carpooled together to St. Johns. If you’re ever in downtown Minneapolis and you see a lime green Hummer with really shiny wheels, it could be AC. I’m not going to say it is AC because there are lots of lime green Hummers in Minnesota, but it could be him. I think AC designed a lot of that car himself. I am not a car person, but I guarantee that after seeing “The Lime” you might be thinking about getting a custom green paint job for your car. That’s how sweet the ride is. AC is always one of the first players to get to practice and games every day. I like to call him “Air Conditioner” because he plays so hard and the other team can’t turn him off. Coach Casey loves his professionalism and tenacity.

Have a great week!



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Fred Hoiberg, Heart Surgery, Timberwolves, Glen Taylor, Coach, NBA
Fred’s heart surgery this summer took everyone by surprise. It shakes you a little when you see a guy in great physical condition in the prime of his life going through something like that. I guess Fred's title is "special assistant coach" or something like that. Photo: shutterstock.com

One of the topic suggestions that I got from a reader this week was to write a little bit about Fred Hoiberg and his new/old role with the team. Obviously, Fred’s heart surgery this summer took everyone by surprise. It shakes you a little when you see a guy in great physical condition in the prime of his life going through something like that. I’m sure it was really scary for him and his family. You just never know what is going to happen in one’s journey and you have to remember that life is fragile and should never be taken for granted. I can’t put my finger on exactly how or why, but in some ways Fred’s ordeal has brought us closer together as a team.

I’m sure it was tough on Fred when the Timberwolves decided to waive him in August, but he knows that the team was looking out for his long-term health. Wolves’ owner Glen Taylor knows Fred’s competitive nature and didn’t want to see him return before his health allowed. Mr. Taylor made the decision to make him a coach for this season. It was a move to make sure that Fred would not try to risk coming back too soon. I think it shows a special foresight on Glen’s part to protect Fred from a premature return, while still keeping such a valuable person involved in the organization.

I guess Fred’s title is “special assistant coach” or something like that. He has kind of a unique perspective on things, as he is here most days both as a consultant and as a player. During practice Fred comes to watch what is going on and make suggestions to individual players as he sees necessary. Obviously our young guys can learn a lot from someone like Fred who has 10 years in the league. Once practice is done, including individual work with guys, Fred embarks on his own workout to get back in the kind of shape you need to be to compete in the NBA. He does a lot of shooting drills with Wally Szczerbiak and Marko Jaric. As of right now he needs to stay away from some of the contact stuff, so he is not involved in any of the scrimmage aspects.

I have to tell you one funny thing about Fred’s situation though. As you can imagine, a professional team’s locker room is a pretty plush place. Our locker room is no exception, with really nice wood features and the standard big-screen televisions. Since Fred is not an active player this year, he got moved from the cozy confines of the locker room to a place not so nice. If you walk into our training room you will see along the back wall some shelves jam-packed with medical equipment. If you look close enough on the bottom shelf you will see a raggedy cardboard box that is labeled “Coach Hoiberg’s Locker Room.” Sure enough his workout gear is all stored in there. I have to laugh every time I walk in and see that. Someday I will devote a diary about some of the funny things that happen in our locker room on a daily basis. I’m not going to name names, but whoever threw Fred’s stuff in that old box has a pretty good sense of humor. The best thing is Fred has shown off his new digs, and has had many laughs about it.

In closing, it has been inspirational to me to see Fred working so hard to come back and do something he loves so much. I know that when the time comes he will make the best decision for himself and his family on whether to resume playing or not. In 15 years I see Fred as a general manger of some NBA team, or coaching in the league or in college.

Have a great week.