Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Timberwolves Butler and Towns Named NBA Western Conference All-Stars

Minneapolis/St. Paul – Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler and forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns were today named NBA Western Conference All-Stars by the National Basketball Association. Butler and Towns were named to the team as reserves via balloting by NBA head coaches. Towns and Butler become the 6th and 7th Wolves players to earn NBA All-Star honors, joining Tom Gugliotta, Kevin Garnett, Wally Szczerbiak, Sam Cassell and Kevin Love. Butler and Towns become the fourth pair of teammates to be named NBA All-Stars in the same year in Wolves history (Garnett/Gugliotta, 1997; Garnett/Szczerbiak, 2002; Garnett/Cassell, 2004).

For Butler, this will be his fourth NBA All-Star appearance, all as a reserve and first with the Wolves. Towns earns his first NBA All-Star appearance after appearing in the Rising Stars Challenge in each of the last two seasons. The 2018 NBA All-Star Game will be played at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 18.

Butler and Towns have led the Wolves to a 31-18 record this season, including a 24-7 mark vs. the Western Conference, as Minnesota currently sits atop the Northwest Division and in the No. 3 position in the Western Conference. The Wolves are the first team in the NBA this season to match its win total from the 2016-17 campaign (31). Minnesota has won 12 more games than at this point last year, good for the largest win increase in the NBA. The Wolves are 14-5 over their last 19 games, a span that includes two separate five-game winning streaks and the Wolves’ second-ever 5-0 homestand. Minnesota currently owns a nine-game winning streak at Target Center, the team’s longest single-season home winning streak since the 2003-04 Wolves won 14 straight home games from Dec. 16, 2003 to Feb. 6, 2004.

In his first campaign with Minnesota, Butler has registered averages of 21.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 36.9 minutes per game this season while shooting a career-best 47.6% from the floor, 35.4% from long distance and a career-high 87.5% from the free throw line. Butler’s 2.04 steals per game average is a career-high and places him 4th in the NBA. Over his last 18 games, Butler has led the Wolves to a 12-6 record, averaging 25.3 points on 51.1% shooting and 5.4 assists per game while going 138-for-154 (89.6%) from the free throw line during the stretch. The Tomball, Texas native has led the Wolves in scoring a team-high 21 times and has posted seven 30+ point games. Butler has also led the team in assists on 15 occasions, including dishing out a season-high 10 Nov. 28 vs. Washington. The 6-8 forward currently ranks 19th in scoring, T-26th in assists, T-20th in free throw accuracy and 4th in minutes.

Butler scored a season-high 39 points, including a franchise-record 12 in overtime, in Minnesota’s 128-125 win over Denver on Dec. 27. Butler netted 20 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter in a 112-106 victory over the L.A. Clippers on Dec. 3, becoming the 14th player in franchise history to score 20+ points in a single quarter. Butler registered 26 points, 10 rebounds and five steals Nov. 19 vs. Detroit, joining Kevin Garnett and Tom Gugliotta as the only Wolves players to accumulate those numbers in a single game.

Towns has appeared in every game this season, continuing his ironman streak to 213 contests, the second-longest active streak in the NBA. In 48 games this year, Towns has tallied averages of 20.0 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.55 blocks per contest while shooting 53.7% from the floor, a team-best 41.2% from long range and 83.9% from the free throw line. His 41 doubles-doubles lead the NBA and he has put up double digit scoring and rebounding totals in 14 straight games. Over his last 37 games, Towns is shooting 44.4% (60-of-135) from long range. The Edison, New Jersey native was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 20, his third such honor. The 7-0 forward/center has paced the Wolves in scoring 20 times and rebounding on 42 occasions. Towns currently ranks 25th in scoring, 5th in rebounding, 17th in field goal percentage, 23rd in three-point accuracy, 8th in blocks and 16th in minutes.

Towns has scored 30+ points four times this season, including a season-best 33 vs. Oklahoma City on Oct. 27. He set his career high in rebounds earlier this season by grabbing 23 Jan. 5 at Boston, part of the fourth career 20-point/20-rebound performance of his career. Towns paced the Wolves in scoring, rebounding and assists when he put up 23 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists Jan. 12 vs. New York, narrowly missing out on the second triple-double of his career. Towns netted 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and five blocks Dec. 14 vs. Sacramento, joining Kevin Garnett as the only Wolves players to collect 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 5+ blocks in a single game.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

NDSU Football Coaches Clinic

FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota State University's annual football coaches clinic is scheduled for Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at the Fargodome featuring performance coach Ben Newman on Friday and Baltimore Ravens associate head coach Jerry Rosburg on Saturday.

Friday's program includes NDSU head coach Chris Klieman, offensive and defensive breakout sessions with the NDSU assistant coaches, and presentations by three veteran college coaches:
·         Rich Wright, head coach and former defensive coordinator at Northwest Missouri State,
·         Matt Wheeler, offensive coordinator at Wartburg College, and
·         Randy Hart, former defensive line coach at Iowa State, Purdue, Ohio State, Washington, Notre Dame and Stanford.

Saturday's schedule includes on-field drill demonstrations with the NDSU coaching staff and a strength and conditioning presentation by NDSU director of athletic performance Jim Kramer.

Coaches attending the clinic are invited to watch NDSU practice on Friday and Saturday.  Dinner on Friday night and breakfast on Saturday morning will be provided.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Kelly Lopez Named NDSU Assistant Volleyball Coach

FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota State University women’s head volleyball coach Jennifer Lopez announced that older sister and former teammate Kelly Lopez has joined the staff as an assistant coach.

“I am very excited for the addition of Kelly to our staff, and for her to be back working with our volleyball program. Her leadership, values, and passion for the game of volleyball and NDSU are going to be a great fit,” said Jennifer Lopez, who completed her first season as head coach.

Kelly, a native of Glyndon, Minn., has been the associate director of sports performance at Boise State University since 2014, working directly with seven sports including women’s volleyball and women’s beach volleyball, and also assisted with men’s basketball.

“I am extremely excited and honored to be back at NDSU and work with the women’s volleyball program. I am grateful for the opportunity Coach (Jennifer) Lopez has given me, and am eager to begin working with our staff and young women,” said Kelly Lopez.

Kelly was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at North Dakota State from 2012-14, while also serving as a graduate assistant and intern in the NDSU strength and conditioning program working her way up the ladder. She earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise science from North Dakota State in 2010 and master’s degree in exercise from NDSU in August 2017.

Her resume includes club volleyball coaching experience for West Fargo, Minnesota Black Ice and Oak Grove. She’s been a regular on the summer volleyball camp circuit at NDSU, West Fargo, Kindred, Hawley, Oak Grove and Courts Plus.

A four-year starter for North Dakota State from 2005-09, Kelly was a two-time Summit League Defensive Player of the Year in leading the Bison to the 2008 league tournament championship, along with a pair of regular season league titles. She was also a two-time all-league second team selection. Kelly still ranks No. 4 all-time at NDSU with 3.49 digs per set and No. 9 with 1,382 digs.

Kelly was a five-year starter, five-time all-Heart O’ Lakes Conference selection, and three-time conference MVP on the volleyball court for Dilworth-Glyndon Felton High. The Rebels were the 2004 Class AA state runner-up. She was Minnesota’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2004 and PrepVolleyball.com All-American. Kelly finished her career with 1931 kills and 1423 digs, and also scored more than 1,000 points on the basketball court for D-G-F.

North Dakota State finished the season with a 19-9 record including 9-5 in the Summit League. The Bison advanced to the league tournament semifinals for the ninth time.