As a longtime Timberwolves fan and non-Minnesotan (is that what ya’ll say?), I’ve always yearned for a community to
relate commiserate with. After a few years arguing about Randy Foye on TwolvesBlog.com, I transitioned over to Canis Hoopus — a happier place. It was therapeutic to engage in conversations about war vet Anthony Randolph in the comment section as we cruised to yet another sub-20 win season. Eventually, I wanted to know more about the gracious folk who keep this community going. So without further ado...
Your 2020-2021 Canis Hoopus Writing Staff!
Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige)
Born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota, I voyaged west on the Oregon Trail six years ago to follow my fiancée (who will hopefully become my wife next Labor Day if I continue to play my cards right) as she embarked on her MBA program at Oregon State University. Moving away from my home town was really difficult, and I spent my first year or so on the West Coast extremely lonely and in a pretty dark place.
Despite my geographical location, one of the few strong connections I still had to my friends and family in the Midwest was (sadly) the Minnesota Timberwolves, who somehow got me through those tough times by
entertaining distracting me for a few sparse hours 3-4 times a week. When Eric and John put out the bat signal for new contributors in the fall of 2016, it was the perfect opportunity for me to not only do what I love (talking about basketball) but also gave me a much-needed platform to connect with people who shared the same passions, possessed differing yet informed opinions, and could relate to some of the struggles I was going through in my personal life. I will forever be indebted to both Eric and John for giving a random kid from North Dakota a chance to not only explore his passion but hopefully make others laugh and feel that same sense of community that means so much to me.
Modern-day Kyle is doing a lot better (all things considered of course), and my primary job is spent managing grant money for cancer research here in Portland, OR. Cancer has affected both my family and my fiancée’s family in a major way, so having the ability to spin my own MBA into a gig that helps support and fund various clinical trials is extremely motivating and uplifting.
Outside of ALL of that — I’m a pretty outgoing dude who loves sandwiches, running, red wine, crewneck sweatshirts, Nike shoes, and caffeine (not necessarily in that order). I feel privileged every day to log into Canis and see what the topic(s) of the day are, and I can never thank each and every one of you enough for the support you’ve given me and our entire staff.
Derek James (@DerekJamesNBA)
I grew up a Timberwolves fan in the mid-90s as a kid. One of my fondest memories is Kevin Garnett’s basketball camp and getting to meet The Big Ticket. Timberwolves-Spurs Game 3 in the first round of the 2002 NBA Playoffs is my favorite game I have attended.
In 2010, I took a semester off college and started a Blogspot writing about the Wolves and NBA. Eventually, I made my way to Howlin’ T-Wolf, Hardwood Paroxysm, SKOR North (1500 ESPN), Hoops Habit, At The Hive/Rufus On Fire (SB Nation Horncats blog), and several more. That’s not bragging; it’s my way of illustrating that I have been around a long time.
If I had to pick a few standout memories, there are hilarious ones like the Corey Brewer 51-point game and the Rockets dropping 50 points in the third quarter in Game 5 of the 2018 playoffs. There are also somber ones, like the first game after Flip Saunders’ passing. Covering the team has been a fun journey and one that has provided me with opportunities I never would have imagined.
Fun fact: John Meyer (@thedailywolf) invited me to join Canis Hoopus a couple of seasons ago. Having known John since we were kids and later covering games as media was cool and getting to work with him was something I wanted to do. It also didn’t hurt that Canis is the biggest Timberwolves blog out there.
At one point I thought this could be a career, but after graduating and finding a non-media job I love, I’m okay with doing this as a hobby. Between here and A Wolf Among Wolves, I’m perfectly happy if this is my Writing About Basketball With Friends phase. Only now, I cover the team from Portland after moving from Minneapolis in July 2020.
Mike O’Hagan (@mikleohagan)
Hi folks. I’m a Minnesota kid through and through, born in Saint Louis Park, growing up in Saint Cloud, graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2019, and still hanging around Minneapolis as my mid-20s commence. Basketball has been the thing/hobby I’ve loved more than anything else for as long as I can remember, and I guess cheering for and following the Wolves is what comes with that territory.
I’d never really considered writing about basketball anywhere, until I was studying abroad in Australia in 2018 and realized that all of my classes were pass/fail, leaving me a lot of extra time during the mornings before venturing out in the afternoons/evenings. I started by writing on general NBA topics for a KFAN site based out of Sioux Falls. When fall 2018 came around and I noticed Canis was looking for more contributors, I figured I’d apply and see what happened. The past several years have been so much more than I ever could’ve expected, and I’m eternally grateful to Eric & John for bringing me on.
The long & short of it for me on this site is really that I’m just grateful to have such an awesome place to put my basketball thoughts in writing, and I’m looking forward to a few more late-night recaps with everyone after a rough trip to Los Angeles.
As for me personally, I’m your pretty stereotypical early/mid-20s guy in Minneapolis. I have Gopher football season tickets, and frequently take advantage of the $15 Standing Room tickets at Target Field during non-COVID summer’s. I’m a regular at local coffee shops in the Uptown area like Bob’s Java Hut, Corner Coffee and MisFit, and have been known to make my rounds to the various Twin Cities breweries as well, with Modist being the favorite.
Jake Paynting (@JakePaynting)
Hey there. I’m Jake Paynting, Canis’ resident Australian. I’ve been a Wolves fan since my mother relocated us to Minnesota back in 2005. I stayed there until 2010 before moving back Down Under, and have been a passionate Wolves supporter ever since. While I loved my time in the States and I can’t wait to get back when international flights finally open back up, you’ll never hear me complaining about living in Australia.
I grew up playing basketball and represented my state before and after moving to Minneapolis. Now, I’m older, slower, probably shorter (somehow) and generally less motivated, but I still love playing and love breaking down film and podcasting about the team we all hate to love.
I’ve been writing with Canis Hoopus for almost three years and love every second of it. This season, I hope to bring the best of myself and continue to improve and provide content that you (hopefully) love. Outside of that, I’m a qualified furniture polisher and enjoy food more than I should. I live with my long-time girlfriend and my Pitbull, Nahla. That’s about all there is to me. Boring, I know.
Jack Borman (@jrborman13)
What’s good, Wolves fans? My name is Jack Borman. You’ve probably heard me on the Dane Moore NBA Podcast or Paynt Points with our favorite Aussie, Jake. I’ve been a Timberwolves fan since KG and Sam Cassell were tearing up the league when I was five years old. I was born and raised in Minneapolis and attended basketball powerhouse DeLaSalle High School, where my love for basketball really took off as a manager on three state championship teams. As a manager, I took statistics, managed a team Twitter account and live-tweeted games, and broke down plays I took on video during the games, which was a huge influencer in steering me towards writing.
I am currently a senior (already, somehow) at Boston College, where I study Marketing and Business Analytics. I will be returning to Minneapolis after graduating in May, and will be working at a local sports media startup, Prep Network, where I have been an intern since May of 2018. I’m a huge sports fan and numbers guy, so I couldn’t be more excited to be combining the two right out of college.
I’ve been writing here at Canis since May of 2020 and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The community is great and Wolves fans have been a ton of fun to interact with, learn from, and unfortunately, suffer with. Writing about the Wolves and basketball in general has been an awesome outlet for me and allowed me to meet and connect with so many truly great people, especially the team we have assembled here at Canis. I can’t wait to bring you more content this season, which will include plenty of film breakdown, transaction analysis, as well as analytical and gambling content, too.
Outside of basketball, I love listening to music (from Elton John to Mac Miller, Tori Kelly, John Mayer and everything in between), watching stand-up comedy, reading about business and technology, sharpening my coding skills, and watching the Twins and Vikings. Currently, I’m in Minneapolis with my family for the holidays before enjoying one last ride at BC.
Like many of the other writers, I grew up in Minnesota, but found myself drawn to Canis and the Wolves when I was living out of state. I started writing for Canis all the way back in 2015 when I was living in South Africa and looking for a connection to my home state, friends, and family.
Since then, I’ve been covering the Wolves while working in Baltimore for four years in the non-profit world, and now, writing when I can, while pursuing a Masters in Public Policy degree here at the University of Minnesota. The Wolves are always a good distraction when writing about climate change or urban planning gets too depressing. Although, the tenor of the writing remains the same.
I’m in Minneapolis with my partner, living the pandemic life and trying to get by.
Leo Sun (@Y0Leo)
“Standing at 5’8” (in shoes) and 160 pounds soaking wet, out of Sacramento State, your starting towel waver...” I was born in Taipei, Taiwan before my family immigrated to Northern California in a small suburban town called Vacaville. As some of you know, I settled down in Sacramento for most of my adult life for college and became one of three Timberwolves fans there (Shoutout Boss10 & dropstep). After finishing my masters degree in Higher Education Leadership, I relocated to Southern California in Ventura County a few years ago to enjoy 70° weather 300+ days out of the year and the 10 minute drive to the beach.
I became a Wolves fan at the age of 13 more due to being a hipster before I knew what that was and wanted to root for some random non-local team. The name “Timberwolves” sounded badass and I heard this one player, “Garnett,” was on SportsCenter a lot and apparently was pretty good. It’s been a curse ever since then. I stan Troy Hudson and Ricky Rubio, sorry not sorry.
My journey to Canis Hoopus was detailed a bit in the intro, but my time writing here began with just wanting to support the Minnesota Lynx (and women’s sports in general) more in 2020. Kyle Theige gave me the opportunity to do some Lynx game recaps and I guess I didn’t lower the grammar ranking of the site too much, so I got the nod to try and rep the community as a staff writer. CH has been such a happy accident in my life which led to meeting tons of awesome people IRL who have taken care of me like Boss10, Cynical Jason, Asleep At The Keyboard, feral, John Meyer, and others. Even more so, Boss10 and I have been able to rub elbows with the FSN crew (Jim Peterson, Dave Benz, Marney Gellner, and others) to the point where they are now first-name basis friends who I show off every opportunity I can.
As for on the court though, my crowning achievement in basketball (and life?) was in my final semester of undergrad in 2011, going undefeated to win a college intramural title when a teammate tipped in a game-winning putback with 0.1 left on the clock. We got the ringzzz. I also once went 6-for-6 from the perimeter in the 1st half of a game so you can definitely expect to see my name on the early-entry list of the 2021 NBA draft.
Outside of my basketball “career,” I’m a coordinator of programs for students of color in higher education, mediocre pianist, embarrassing dancer, ranked Smash Bros. 64 player, German Shepherd dad, and advocate for mental health and suicide awareness.
Tyler Metcalf (@tmetcalf11)
Oh, hello. Funny meeting you here. So, what do you want to know about? Well for starters, I was born and raised in Milwaukee. Initially, I grew up a Bucks fan and Ray Allen was my hero. This fandom came to a screeching halt when the Bucks shattered my youthful naivety of how franchises cared about fans, players, and just wanted to win. The day the Bucks traded Ray Allen to Seattle for Gary Payton and cash was the day I became a bit of an NBA fan nomad.
My allegiance quickly pivoted to the Detroit Pistons as my parents are from Michigan; it seemed like a seamless transition. To be fair, this was before the Pistons were good, so there was no bandwagon jumping. In my rare sports fandom career, I experienced a sustained stretch of success. Unfortunately, this fell off a cliff as my favorite roster of all-time was disbanded piece by piece and I found myself yet again with a team so incompetently run that the definition of winning might as well have been a fairytale to them. I hoist this prelude upon you not to bore you with my previous life as an NBA fan, but instead to show you that I am really, really bad at picking teams to root for and invest in.
After growing up in Milwaukee, I attended the University of Minnesota where I majored in Finance and Sport Management. This is when my attachment to the Timberwolves developed. They had fun young pieces in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns and I always enjoyed the Kevin Garnett era. So, as is a consistent theme, I yet again attached myself to a franchise unfamiliar with winning. There is still part of me that enjoys and hopes for the Bucks and Pistons to find success and happiness, but my heart, for better or worse, is with the Timberwolves.
I got into writing because I just needed an outlet for the thoughts that flooded my head on a daily basis. I felt that if I had to be subject to them, then why shouldn’t everyone else? At first, I just started writing on my own page on Medium and shared my words on social media. From there I got picked up by Hashtag Basketball where I covered the Timberwolves, general NBA topics, and the draft (still do that there). As the website pivoted away from exclusively team coverage, I still wanted to directly write about the Timberwolves and was lucky to join the team at Dunking With Wolves for just under two years. This summer, Kyle reached out to me and asked if I wanted to come onboard and join the Canis team. I’ve enjoyed reading and interacting with this team over the past few years, so it didn’t take me long to accept.
Outside of basketball, I work in finance. Nothing super exciting or that you care about, but it’s a job I enjoy, it pays the bills, and is another piece to the puzzle. I am an avid Manchester United, Cubs, and Lions fan (theme of very little winning emerges yet again). Any medium that provides for excellent storytelling I am fascinated with whether it be TV, movies, books, articles, etc. So that’s a bit about me. If you want to know more please continue reading my stuff, as it is 100% who I am, or follow me on Twitter.
More importantly, though, thank you for reading this site and continuing to do so. There are a lot of people here who work really hard on providing some of the best team focused writing you’ll find. I can’t wait for this season to start, to write about actual basketball, and continue giving you all the content you crave.
Jake Kelly (@jakesgraphs)
As a Wolves fan, Canis Hoopus taught me it was OK to be weird.
Hi! I’m another Jake. I’m a long-time lurker, and glad to be joining the Canis roster on a 2-way “prove it” deal as a contributor. This community has been scratching my Wolves itch since I was in my college dorm room reading Kurt Rambis era gamers and Rashad McCants love-life breakdowns on an iPod touch. I’m so excited to now be a part of it.
I’ve been writing several detailed emails a day over the last handful of years at my professional job, so I’m betting on myself to carry those skills over into what I can offer here. I work professionally in data analytics, so while I have a soft spot for graphs, and using data to best inform decisions within the game, I tend to focus on exactly the opposite of analytics when it comes to framing my thoughts on the Wolves. An escape, if you will.
I like to connect the players to memes from 2013. I spend a lot of time drawing digital portraits of Crunch. If your name is Jake, you will always have my full support. I like Timberwolves merchandise & apparel so much that I recently decided to just start making my own (you can go here if you’re interested).
Originally from South Dakota (the bottom Dakota), I’ve spent most of my time residing in the big city of Minneapolis, and have built my life around having the most convenient route directly into Target Center’s A Ramp. I am aware of St. Paul, and have nothing against it! I hope that one day, Mike Miller’s number will be retired and hang from the rafters of Target Center, right next to Jimmy Butler’s. I have doubts that howling during the opponent’s free throws has a measurable impact on their conversion rate, but I’m willing to run the numbers and howl every time.
Anyway, I’m fully invested in the Canis Optimist ethos. Celebrate when we’re up, do some self-loathing when we’re down; we’ve been there before. It’s kind of like Ricky Rubio’s saying of “never too high, never too low,” except for without the never too high part. But ultimately, just don’t take it too seriously. It’s just show business, baby! We’re well aware of the history, but every year, the future is bright.
And really, the long, taxing wait for league domination has been what makes being a Wolves fan so special. I’ve always felt that being a fan of this team is like having an investment strategy of only buying lottery tickets. It can be as low cost as you want it to be, you just have to keep your expectations somewhat aligned with reality.
Think of it this way: you’re not “losing” every day, you’re just waiting to win. And once you win, we all win.
Scott and Neil Olstad (@wolvescast)
Neil is my brother (he’s older) and we’ve been recording Wolvescast since 2015. We’re not the most popular Wolves podcast. We’re not even the best podcast on Canis Hoopus. We’re not the most insightful, credible or even tolerable Wolves podcast — but we’re the only one with a new game every week. We have the best totally-real-and-not-at-all-fake sponsors. It’s pretty fun and you should check it out IMO (Editor’s Note: seriously, check out this podcast. It’s awesome!).
Neil is in a band called Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Basketball has always been Neil’s favorite sport. He does most of the work on the podcast (editing, uploading, hosting, scheduling, etc.) and he obsesses over making it sound as pristine as possible. He recorded Wolves podcasts as far back as 2008 when he hosted Timberwolves Today with our frequent co-host Rhobert. Neil’s better than me at basketball, but at 6’4”, he’s not only two inches taller than me, but also more skilled at every aspect of the game. He’s quite a guy.
We’ve been making fun Wolves stuff for a minute. We designed and sold a killer line of merch. We called ourselves Tee Wolves — a name that only works in print. We had a shirt with Pek’s tattoo and the label “PEKECUTIONER!” There was a Ricky Rubio tank top, an Alexey Shved design, and Lynx shirts made in the style of that Beatles shirt. (You know the one.)
We started with our fuckyeahtimberwolves tumblr before blogging under the Tee Wolves brand for years. We originally called the pod “Timberwolves: The Podcast” — another too cute name summoned from our comedic sensibilities that never worked in practice. Now we’re Wolvescast. We do not love the Timberwolves despite their flaws, but because of them. There’s beauty in every broken thing and that is certainly something worth celebrating. To cheer for the Wolves is to root for Sisyphus. But how wild would it be if Sisyphus summited the hill?
John Meyer (@thedailywolf)
Hi, Canis. Ricky is back. I am, too.
I introduced myself here many moons ago back in 2014. That was my first season covering the team for this lovely place; a little slice of the internet that so many of us call our own virtual bar and internet basketball home. Long ago, the excitement of getting to be at Target Center without sitting in the nosebleeds with my drunk friends was intoxicating in itself. Then...the Wolves went 16-66.
Welcome to the beat, rook!
There’s way too much that’s happened in between then and now. I moved from New Hope to Northeast to Robbinsdale and helped run the ship here with Eric over those six seasons, as change in Wolvesdom was the only constant. What I’ve truly loved the most during my time here is all of the friendships this place has created and all of the people it’s brought into my life. Now, I’m thrilled to see where things go from here with the loaded staff of talented people above.
This will be my 7th season covering the squad. Excited to see them win every game behind MVP Karl-Anthony Towns.