Clash between Big Kat and Embiid a long time coming
In the online article “9 Strategies for Dealing with a Bully,” published by choosehelp.com, the fourth strategy for dealing with bullies urges not to get violent with the bully. The fifth strategy advises avoiding the bully completely.
We could argue about the merits of the fourth strategy, but, strategy five was never an option for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) when it came to Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid.
This situation started two years ago when Embiid had a big night in Philly’s OT win over the Wolves. Embiid went on to troll KAT on social media afterward, featuring the phrase, “raising the cat,” which went on to become the Sixers rally cry after teammates picked it up and also began using it.
This situation only got worse when the Timberwolves ended the tragic Jimmy Butler era by dealing “Jimmy Buckets” to the Sixers last year, where Butler allegedly talked about Towns to his new teammates in somewhat less-than glowing terms.
Now, the “Big Kat” had acquired the reputation as being “soft,” so Towns, who’s always been a hard worker, made it clear heading into this season that he was ready to do whatever it takes to not only take leadership of the Wolves, but to make his mark in the NBA.
Towns’ off-season work paid early dividends when he was named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week, while leading the Wolves to a 3-0 start. But, with the game getting out of hand in Philly, Embiid and Towns got physical. Push led to shove, and the two soon found themselves scrapping on the floor.
Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, and both players received just two-game suspensions. We’ll have to wait to see if Towns’ actions provide a long-term benefit, but in a game and a league where you’re always trying to show physical superiority, Towns’ refusal to back down sends a message to Embiid, to his teammates and to the league that this Kat isn’t going to get pushed around anymore.
Embiid went back to social media after the fight, where he unleashed another foul tirade, ending with, “Don’t get it twisted. I OWN YOU.”
Time will tell.
MNUFC makes moves with an eye on the future
After a season that was historic in several ways, Minnesota United made some front office moves intended to position the franchise for continued growth on multiple levels.
While MNUFC will continue to make personnel decisions through consensus, Head Coach Adrian Heath will get more input on player personnel while Manny Lagos, until now, the team’s sporting director, will get a new title and new responsibilities, focusing on building MNUFC’s second team, which includes growing the youth academy, the franchise’s USL team and developing MNUFC’s sports science division.
I would be lying to you if I implied that I had insight into the nuances at work here, because I don’t. What I do know is that Manny Lagos is a winner and has been at every level, and if you were building a feeder system along the lines of the premier teams in Europe, I couldn’t think of a better person for such a task.
The Lagos family is the first family of Minnesota Soccer. Buss Lagos was a tireless worker in establishing and growing what has become MNUFC, and with Manny Lagos in charge of securing the future, the franchise couldn’t be in better hands. Or feet.
Gopher women ranked 23 in A.P. Top 25
The Gopher women’s basketball team is ranked #23 in the Associated Press preseason Top 25. That ranking comes as somewhat of a surprise as Lindsay Whalen’s team is picked to finish no better than the middle of the Big Ten by both the writers and the coaches.
Ranked #5 in the A.P. poll, and 4th in the Coach’s poll is traditional power University of Connecticut. The team landed Hopkins star Paige Bueckers who is considered to be the best women’s hoop talent that Minnesota has ever produced.
A Team USA regular and a 4-year starter at Hopkins High School, where she also played varsity as an eighth-grader, Bueckers led the Royals to a 149-8 record during her high school career.
I have no doubt that Whalen will build the Gophers into perennial winners, I just have to wonder how much faster the team would have gotten there with Bueckers on the roster.