Jace Frederick / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS—The Timberwolves added some desperately needed wing depth on Thursday night. Minnesota selected Josh Okogie with the No. 20 pick in the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-4 guard out of Georgia Tech provides a long perimeter defender. Okogie shot 38 percent from 3-point range last season. He isn't widely viewed as a knockdown shooter but proved capable of hitting catch-and-shoot attempts in college. Any floor spacing help would be welcomed by Minnesota, which again was one of the NBA's worst teams in 3-pointers made and attempted last season.
MINNEAPOLIS—The Timberwolves have just two wing players under contract heading into next season: Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins. So their primary need heading into Thursday's NBA draft isn't exactly a secret. Luckily for Minnesota, wings will be abundant by the time its pick, 20th overall, rolls around. While the top of the draft is big man dominant with Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. all likely to be selected in the top 10, the draft's depth is on the perimeter.
ST. PAUL—It is the same question facing every team with a first-round pick entering every pro sports draft: use the pick you have, or trade it? For the Timberwolves, that decision carries extra weight this offseason.
MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota Golden Gophers baseball coach John Anderson had one message for his team in the late innings of Minnesota's NCAA regional second round matchup with UCLA Saturday night, May 2. "I said, 'Siebert Field, Siebert Field magic," Anderson said. "I told them to just keep believing in Siebert Field's magic, give ourselves a chance to win it and we'll find a way." He was right.
MINNEAPOLIS — The sight outside of Target Center on Sunday was better than the one inside, especially for Lynx fans who watched their team lose a nail-biter to the Los Angeles Sparks in the season opener. Maya Moore's presence was fully felt in the game, but she loomed larger than life a short distance from the arena. For 24 hours, downtown Minneapolis was home to a massive Jordan Brand poster that featured Moore re-enacting the famous "Wings" poster from 1989 that featured Michael Jordan himself. "It was amazing," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "It was the talk."
MINNEAPOLIS—The hype videos were great. The pregame championship ring ceremony was memorable. The Target Center crowd was electric. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve thanked the fans and the team's game operations staff for all of that to start off her postgame press conference on Sunday, May 20. "And we could probably end with that, if you want," Reeve said, "because there wasn't much more after that."
ST. PAUL—Heading into this weekend's NCAA Regional in Seattle, first-year coach Jamie Trachsel has set the focus on this Gophers softball season as an individual entity. Never mind the program's past success. "(We're) trying to write our own story," Trachsel said. "This is their opportunity. It's our tournament to go out there and try to win and be competitive. ... We're going to go give it our best shot."
ST. PAUL—Sylvia Fowles is nervous about this season's WNBA schedule. It's an odd year, meaning there's a major international basketball competition. In 2018, it's the World Cup. Traditionally, the WNBA stops its season mid-campaign to allow players to go compete internationally before returning for the season's conclusion. This year, the league chose to ram the entire regular season and playoffs in before the World Cup tournament begins Sept. 22 in Spain. So the schedule is condensed, meaning games will be coming fast and furious.
MINNEAPOLIS — Moving forward, Mark Coyle will be more informed during Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action investigations that involve Gophers student-athletes. The new student-athlete code of conduct, which came into effect in January, outlines a process in which more communication exists between the athletic director and other University of Minnesota entities.
OWATONNA, Minn. — It's a "crazy world" in men's college hockey right now, new Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. The Gophers team that won the national title in 2002, with which Motzko served as an assistant coach, was led by star players such as John Pohl and Jordan Leopold — who were both seniors. "Those days have changed," Motzko said. A team's best players being seniors is fading farther from the norm with each passing season in college hockey, as talented players are bolting for the pro game before their final seasons.