The absence of Malik Sealy is still on the minds of all the Minnesota Timberwolves. And for Wolves' point guard Terrell Brandon it remains a sensitive issue.
Brandon, part of the U.S. Bank/Minnesota Timberwolves Caravan that visited Central Lakes College Thursday, had to hold back the tears. The 5-foot-11, former all-star said the biggest key to next year is how the team will deal with the loss.
"First of all we have to keep Malik Sealy in mind," Brandon said about the future of the Timberwolves. "It's going to be tough for us in training camp. It's tough everyday to even think about him not being with us. It's a very emotional experience for all of us.
"We're going to have to rally around that loss. It's going to be interesting to see how we respond to it. It will be difficult."
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Terrell Brandon smiled as he prepared to sign an autograph for one of the 100 future basketball players during the U.S. Bank/Minnesota Timberwolves Caravan, which visited Central Lakes College on Thursday. Minutes earlier, Brandon fought back tears as he talked about the death of teammate Malik Sealy to a reporter.
Brandon, along with radio announcer and former NBA player Jim Petersen and Crunch the Timberwolves mascot, put on a clinic for just under 100 future basketball players.
Crunch did some of his usual crowd-pumping antics to get the young audience going. After a short question and answer segment Peterson and Brandon showed the children basics of the game like shooting, passing and ball handling -- and just having fun.
After a few contests players signed autographs.
"This is fun because you don't get the opportunity to meet a lot of people from this area," said Brandon. "This gives the fans a good opportunity to see a lot of the Timberwolves organization. Not just the players but the organization.
"It gives me a chance to go to a part of Minnesota that I've never been before. I like small communities, family-oriented communities. That's what I like about it."
As the young crowd, awestruck by Brandon's shooting and ball handling skills, waited for autographs a big smile came across the former first-round draft pick's face.
"It's flattering," Brandon said. "My thing is, though, parents and teachers should be the role models. We're just players who go out and play and try to lead by example.
"The more we try to take care of ourselves off the court -- that's more the example -- personally, I try to lead. Basketball is more of an opinion but life has a lot more substance."
As the mentor to two young point guards, Igor Rakocevic, taken as the 51st pick in the 2000 draft, and William Avery, taken as the 14th pick in the 1999 draft, Brandon feels blessed that he can help the Timberwolves with the present and the future of the organization.
"I don't know much about Igor (Rakocevic) so I really don't know," Brandon said. "I know Will, being a rookie last year, and he's a fine young man. He likes to learn and listen.
"That's rare in young players these days. They don't want to listen too much but he does. So we're going to bring Igor in and bring him in as part of the family and see what he can do and go from there."
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