After yet another long, lackluster, dysfunctional offseason, the Minnesota Timberwolves are officially back, as are the staff members here at Canis Hoopus who cover the team! As we prepare to kick off yet another season of #kahntent here at CH, we wanted to quickly introduce some of the staff members that will be providing daily coverage of our beloved Timberwolves for the upcoming season.
Without further ado...
Leo Sun (@Y0Leo)
Canis Birthday: 4/13/2011
Hometown: Sacramento, CA (NorCal)
Current Location: Camarillo, CA (SoCal)
Writer Strengths: Skilled typist (110+ WPM club, what up!); Professional survey administrator by the people for the people; Long-drawn-out yet mediocre at best punchlines; Willingness to tank CH grammar ranking; Overly embedding tweets.
Favorite Piece Written: Game Preview #59: Wolves at Kings Part I - Created/concocted with my best friend who covers the Sacramento Kings at The Kings Herald. We’ve endlessly quoted The Shawshank Redemption dating back to our college years, so this a special moment for us.
Also, shout out to the Hoopus Awards!
Basketball Strengths: Good at hyping teammates up; Making opponents laugh and lose focus; Great at creating team jerseys; Average perimeter shooter & passer; Kinda hard worker
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: Meeting players, crew, but most importantly CH people at games (Shoutout Boss10!). However, if I had to isolate it to just something that happened on the court, I’ll give the nod to the 2018 playoff clinching moment over the 2003 WCSF game 7 win just because it’s harder for me to feel love nowadays compared to back then. Single game moments also include the Corey Brewer dunk, the Ricky Rubio 3 to Kevin Love vs. Clippers game winning 3, and the Andrew Wiggins halfcourter.
Jack Borman (@jrborman13)
Canis Birthday: 5/26/2020
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Current Location: Minneapolis, MN
Writer Strengths: CBA knowledge, deep dives into why the Wolves/Lynx (enter bench slot here) player is as good as you think he/she/they is/are, infusing hoops writing with charts and graphs, making articles way longer than they need to be, general pandering to Wolves/Lynx degenerates
Favorite Piece Written: I’ll go with two here, since I write about the Wolves and the Lynx.
Basketball Strengths: Rebounding, post defense, corner 3s, passing from the elbows
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: Zach LaVine winning the greatest dunk contest I’ll ever see in 2016, which made him my favorite Wolf at the time. I later ran into him at a park in 2017 with huge group of friends and he couldn’t have been a better dude. After he took photos with people for 30 minutes or so, we had shooting contests and played pick-up with him for over an hour.
Ran into Zach LaVine shooting at a park where a friend’s grad party was.— Jack Borman (@jrborman13) June 23, 2020
Rebounded for him for over an hour, talked about a ton of stuff, and he took pics with 25+ people.
Can’t find a nicer guy https://t.co/L4ekOVbQAX pic.twitter.com/rXCb6sbV3i
Michael O’Hagan (@mikleohagan)
Canis Birthday: 9/1/2018
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Current Location: Minneapolis, MN
Writer Strengths: I don’t know if I succeed at this, but I try to be somewhat of a bridge between the casual fan and the more diehard/analytical fan. That’s the goal, at least, because I love and appreciate the access to information and video that we have, but also do still believe in a lot of the human elements of the game. I understand X’s and O’s but am not a huge video guy, so I do my best to be sort of the utility man here at Canis. I also enjoy using this as a platform to talk about and write about the other teams in the league where it makes sense because I really believe that the talent in the league is as high as it’s ever been, and that deserves to be celebrated. Also, apparently, talking about myself.
Favorite Piece Written: Easy choice for me. I wrote about Anthony Edwards shortly after his initial outburst around the mid-point of last season, culminating with his 28/7/5 game against the Lakers (Feb 16, 2021).
Basketball Strengths: You’re all dying to hear about my exploits as a 3-and-D High School basketball player, right? Nowadays, my main strengths are yelling at the television and cheering after Anthony Edwards makes the correct rotation on defense during a preseason game, as well as subjecting myself to whatever the hell the University of Minnesota has put on the Williams Arena floor the past few seasons.
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: I’m too young to remember a lot of the KG stuff in real-time, and I didn’t really enjoy the Jimmy Butler year at all. So the list of choices is pretty slim, but there are two that stick out to me, no matter how sad one of them was.
The first that sticks out was against New Orleans after the Jimmy Butler trade in November of 2018. Late in the fourth quarter of a close game, KAT stuffed Anthony Davis at the rim, hit Andrew Wiggins in transition, who then played a nice game of give-and-go for a monster dunk (1:34 in the video below). For a brief moment, it felt like things were going to be ok, and that KAT and Wiggs had things going for them.
The other is just simply Anthony Edwards’ finish to his rookie season. Ant has quickly become my favorite athlete, and watching him begin to fulfill some of his potential down the stretch last year was so fun. Ant is just the best, man. Take your pick between the Phoenix game, the Toronto game, the Portland game, whatever. That whole stretch was awesome.
Brendan Hedtke (@B_HedtkeNBA)
Canis Birthday: 2/2/2021
Hometown: Atwater, Minnesota
Current Location: Willmar, Minnesota
Writer Strengths: As a writer, I try (keyword, btw) to find the happy medium in blending the eye test and analytics. It’s tough to appease both ends of the spectrum. Outside of that, I think my strengths lie in trying to point readers to the brightest possible side of situations, no matter the direness.
In a quick bulleted list, I’d say my strengths are:
- Unnecessarily lengthy intros
- Analogies that don’t make sense
- Wolves optimism
- Not knowing when to end a paragraph
Favorite Piece Written: Somewhere deep in the depths of a website currently in a coma, I wrote a piece about Jaden McDaniels that I so wish I could locate. I’ll throw in two pieces that I can link too.
The first is a piece about the Timberwolves’ options to address defensive needs this summer. While most of the info is now outdated, I’m still proud of the piece: The Path to a Respectable Defense
The second piece is one I wrote back when I started writing. I DM’d Jordan McLaughlin on Instagram and asked if he would be cool with me interviewing him, so I did. Check it out: Minnesota Timberwolves Interview: Jordan McLaughlin on career path, rookie season
Basketball Strengths: My basketball strengths changed from year to year. However, some things remained constant. I was a solid slasher and facilitator through high school and college intramurals, but my best skill was probably thinking that I was a better shooter than I was. I could get HOT, but was typically on the cooler side. I also seemed good at arguing with officials - at least that’s what my coach said.
Also, I was the lead man of the best bench mob in the state.
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: During my freshman year of college, 4 of my friends and I drove to game 82 against the Denver Nuggets. We bought the “College Night” tickets weeks in advance (before anyone knew the weight of that game). We sat front row of the second level and watched the Wolves clinch the playoffs. That was pretty cool. I also caught two t-shirts that night, which might have been even cooler.
Cooper Carlson (@CoopCarlson)
Canis Birthday: 8/12/2021
Hometown: Virginia, Minnesota
Current Location: Duluth, Minnesota
Writer Strengths: Recently got my bench press up to 200 pounds. Legs need some work but it is what it is. Oh, as for actually writing, I suppose I’m good at finding good topic ideas and turning them into interesting blogs. I’m also good at tricking people into thinking I’m a good writer.
Favorite Piece Written: I’ll go with my Canis Hoopus debut piece. I enjoyed this one.
Basketball Strengths: As a high school basketball player I prided myself on playing like Ricky Rubio. Except imagine Ricky Rubio without his strengths. Basically, I couldn’t shoot. Actually, I loved basketball so much but was downright awful so I was like “What if I just write and talk about the sport instead?” and I’m alright at that. You can also find me on YouTube every day and live streaming after every single game!
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: Just one? Wow! The list of successes and happy moments with the Timberwolves extends so far this is impossible. I hate to get all sentimental and soft on y’all but it’s honestly just meeting Kyle and the rest of the Canis crew. They’re all amazing people and I couldn’t be happier to be starting a full season covering the Wolves with these guys.
Logan Alten (@LaltenNBA)
Canis Birthday: 3/14/2020
Hometown: Thief River Falls, MN
Current Location: Minneapolis, MN
Writer Strengths: None. Okay, that’s a lie. Story time! I got into a little basketball via the first Kobe vs KG finals showdown. Then I legitimately got into basketball during the Carmelo Anthony Nuggets trade saga. I would check HoopsHype frequently to see if there were any new rumors or if the trade had finally happened. Finally, the trade happened and I found a forum—it was their trade forum. I spent hours making fake trades and debating them. Unfortunately, HoopsHype’s forums have since closed but RealGM has a great forum going and I am a trade board mod there. That being said, my main strengths are the salary cap, the CBA rules, and occasional objective trade analysis.
Favorite Piece Written: Unfortunately, my former home A Wolf Among Wolves has shut down otherwise you’d be able to read the best-written piece in this article (that’s a lie—everyone here is immensely talented and I’m lucky to be here).
Basketball Strengths: You know how Malik Beasley plays defense? That’s my style except with less basketball IQ. I have the shooting stroke of prime Shaq, the dribbling ability of a man that’s never touched a basketball, and tragically I cannot dunk. Basically, I am the total package and the Iowa Wolves should sign me.
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: So it was about 2 am, I was still in the Marine Corps and was in Kuwait. My phone started blowing up (figuratively), and there were a ton of stoke texts, Woj/Shams/Wolves beat writer notifications. The Timberwolves had just traded for Jimmy Butler and holy smokes I was stoked. I made it back to the states in time to watch the season too!
Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige)
Canis Birthday: 9/23/2016
Hometown: Grand Forks, North Dakota
Current Location: Portland, Oregon
Writer Strengths: I don’t know if it’s necessarily a “strength,” but I have taken significant pride in attempting to find other people who excel at writing and doing everything I possibly can to put them in positions to excel.
As many of you know, I took over the Site Manager gig back in April of 2020, and my primary goal since then has been to build out a staff of extremely talented and creative contributors who can cover both the NBA and WNBA from every possible angle. Since I took over, Canis has grown from four writers to just shy of twenty different contributors, and I hope that an expanded roster of talented individuals translates directly to an increased amount of strong and unique content this upcoming season.
(In terms of my actual writing abilities, I’m just constantly trying to provide a blend of optimism and humor without getting my login credentials revoked by SB Nation).
Favorite Piece Written: As mentioned previously, my writing “style” and overall approach to covering this team (as well as just cheering for my favorite teams in general) is to be lighthearted, optimistic, and occasionally funny. Professional sports — for me specifically — are an escape from the trials and tribulations I’m dealing with in my personal life, so it’s never been something that gets me #MadOnline or triggers me enough to write a scathing “fire everyone” article.
With that said, when things were fairly bleak last season prior to the firing of Ryan Saunders, I did try to write what I thought at the time was a fairly critical (yet fair) piece about “trusting the Prosas.” You can find that article below:
Writing is no different to me than shooting free throws, trail running, etc. — the more reps you get, the more polished your abilities should become. As I enter my sixth full-year covering this team, I hope I can continue to lighten up your day with some hope and humor, while also doing a better job at being critical when necessary.
Basketball Strengths: This is probably a lazy comparison, but I’d describe my on-court basketball strengths as “Dollar Store Ricky Rubio.” I enjoy running the point, setting up my teammates, and busting my ass on defense, all of the core characteristics that make up the Spanish Unicorn’s game (again, my talents are just a notch or 600 below Ricky’s).
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: There are a handful of Kevin Garnett YouTube clips I could post here, or I could link to Ricky Rubio’s home debut in Minnesota, and then there’s basically everything Anthony Edwards has said and done since arriving last fall.
But I’ll keep it short and somewhat sweet — I’m just a random kid from a small town in North Dakota that grew up consuming as much Timberwolves basketball as possible (which now that I say it out loud makes me wonder if my parents actually loved me or not). Rooting for this dysfunctional and unsuccessful franchise has not been easy — hell, it’s actually been a chore at times — but it’s also simultaneously allowed me to build relationships and get opportunities that younger Kyle could have only dreamed about.
I honestly don’t know if the Timberwolves will ever actually be good, but cheering for them (and the friendships and opportunities that have grown over the years from doing so) has been one of the best decisions of my life. Go Wolves.
John Meyer (@meyerNBA)
Canis Birthday: 8/16/2014
Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota
Current Location: Robbinsdale, Minnesota
Writer Strengths: Whenever Ricky Rubio gets traded.
Favorite Piece Written: Hmm. Tough choice. These are some posts I’m happy with:
Basketball Strengths: My game is like Kevin Love (3’s/offensive rebounds) meets Draymond Green (smart passing and lame trash talk) meets Glen Davis (out of shape). Do you hate me already? Don’t worry, I mix in a little Spanish Unicorn so everyone has fun. I always wave my towel and pound my newspaper on the bench, too.
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: There are special moments in sports that make us feel a little bit more alive. Moments like the Minneapolis Miracle can capture the attention of an entire state and bring millions of people together. Whatever form it may take, everyone knows a special moment when they see one. That’s what I wrote, as I was Living in a Wolves Moment back in 2018 after beating the Nuggets in game 82 to break the playoff drought. Favorite memory? No. Tons of moments involving KG beat that, but it’s up there and unforgettable for sure. My favorite Wolves memory still needs to be written.
Canis Birthday: 1/13/2016
Current Location: The Island of Manhattan
Writer Strengths: Delighting the nation with rhymes and alliteration.
Favorite Piece Written: The Baby Big Three (since it features an illustration by one of my students)
Basketball Strengths: 2-time NBA champion, Hall-of-Famer, greatest game 7 performance in NBA Finals history.
Tyler Metcalf (@tmetcalf11)
Canis Birthday: 9/15/2020
Hometown: Muskego, Wisconsin
Current Location: Houston, Texas
Writer Strengths: Breaking down plays, film breakdown, and scouting.
Favorite Piece Written: Hard to pick one, but here are a few:
Basketball Strengths: I do the little things like make the extra pass, jump the passing lane, knock down open threes. My once outstanding on-ball defense has steadily declined with age, but the craft, passing, and defensive shenanigans have aged like a fine wine.
Favorite Timberwolves’ Memory: Hand up, I didn’t grow up a Timberwolves fan like most here. Originally, the Bucks captured my heart until they traded Ray Allen for cash and old-ass Gary Payton. After my adolescent heart was ripped from my body, I pivoted to the Pistons who my parents rooted for and this happened a year or two before the Pistons actually became awesome, so get rid of those rapidly form “classic bandwagon fan” thoughts from your head. For God’s sake, I’m a Lions and Cubs fan, too.
So while I am now an adamant Timberwolves supporter, my favorite moment of theirs has yet to be determined. Instead, I’ll leave you with my favorite basketball moment which was the Piston’s championship run which entailed a Chauncey Billups half-court buzzer beater, a Tayshaun Prince block on Reggie Miller that remains the greatest block in playoff history, and an utter dismantling of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Samuel Khaskel (@SamK2118)
Canis Birthday: 7/27/21
Hometown: San Ramon (Bay Area), California
Current Location: San Ramon, California
Writer Strengths: Analyzing plays and defensive schemes,
Favorite Piece Written: I started contributing for Canis a short while ago and have done different writes, but my favorite one so far is the Northwest Division Preview Series. This was a lot of fun since I got to really dive into the statistics and see what worked for the Timberwolves when they went against their division rivals. Here are a couple that I worked on:
Basketball Strengths: I’m going to be honest, I love having the ball in my hands, but who doesn’t? I wouldn’t say I’m selfish, as I always look to pass as well. I also would say I’m a solid scorer inside and out. The one thing I do pride myself on is my on-ball defense and surprisingly I love playing defense over offense.
Favorite Timberwolves Memory: Since I’m from the Bay Area, I was a Warriors fan growing up, but up until 2016, I began to lose interest in them and I blame Kevin Durant. Don’t get me wrong it was really cool to see that team perform and play every other night, but I didn’t really feel that energy you get from watching basketball anymore.
Around 2015, was when my fandom of the Warriors starting falling when some of my family actually moved to Minnesota, so I began to watch the Timberwolves. My first vivid memory of them was when the Timberwolves beat the Warriors in their 73-9 season and I would say was the start of when I starting supporting them. My all-time favorite Minnesota Timberwolves memory on the other hand would HAVE to be the Derrick Rose 50 point game. My last day of high school basketball tryouts had finished and knowing that I probably didn’t make it, I walked out of the gym and sat on the bench as I tuned into the Wolves game. All I remember was Rose getting to the paint, not missing a single shot, also blocking a late shot by the Jazz to tie the game.
One of my all-time favorite performances in the NBA!
Andrew Carlson (@andrew_carlson2)
Canis Birthday: 10/6/21
Hometown: Vadnais Heights, MN
Writer Strengths: Writing my opinions for whoever will hear them. I will do some analysis and game recaps, but I think the best way to define my writing style and approach with the Timberwolves is, “wow, this guy has seen some stuff”. Haven’t we all with this team? However, the one rule I have in all of my writing will be to never bash Luke Ridnour in anything I do. He was just trying his best.
Basketball Strengths: I like to call myself Ben Simmons with a jumper. The only separator between us is about 10 inches, a lot of speed, basketball IQ, passing ability, defensive ability, and overall genetics.
Favorite Timberwolves memory: Super random, but the Kevin Love game-winner against the lob city Clippers at Staples Center in 2011. There are a lot of good ones to choose from, but that one sticks with me. Slick Rick drew up the same play for him in every clutch situation, and it was clockwork. Moment of silence.
Jake Kelly (@jakesgraphs)
Canis Birthday: 12/16/20
Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Current Location: St. Louis Park, MN
Writer Strengths: Tweeting about the Timberwolves while referencing dank memes or Arby’s. So, keeping things to 280 characters or less, mostly. I was lucky enough to partner up with Canis to bring some graphics, memes, and references to whatever else is happening online to @canishoopus on twitter last year resulting in some fantastic Kahntent. If it doesn’t make sense, or has nothing to do with basketball, it is where I thrive.
Favorite Piece Written: This is still to come – like they always say – the best pieces are the ones you haven’t written yet.
Basketball Strengths: Lurking comments, gauging the temperature of the fanbase, photoshop. My basketball IQ is limited to: that was good, or that was bad – because of the way it looks with my eyes and how it makes me feel. I love the energy of the game and understand that basketball is a game of runs. And also that the team’s marketing campaign plays just as critical a role in the tone of the season as the coach’s rotations. And I also feel like I used to have strong natural court vision, but my jump shot is still developing.
Favorite Timberwolves memory: Recency bias tells me it’s the 2020 NBA Draft. In a year where we didn’t have much else to be excited about, the thrill of selecting Anthony Edwards first, trading for one of my favorite Timberwolves Ricky Rubio, AND having two other first round picks, felt like a full reset of optimism in what was to come. And if it continues to age well, this should certainly translate into new favorite future Timberwolves memories – and like they always say – the best memories are those that you haven’t made yet.