Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

August 14, 2010

NBA rookie honored on 'Wesley Johnson Day'

Corsicana — Even if it was Wesley Johnson Day on Saturday, Johnson himself had a long one.

The NBA's fourth pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves arrived in Texas at 3 a.m. before accepting a key to the city at the CISD's annual Back to School Rally, and then it was off to see family during his short trip home.

"I'm just trying to take everything in," he said. "You think about your day — I have an official day — it's amazing to think about."

Johnson left Sunday for New York and appointments for an Adidas advertising campaign before flying to Los Angeles to resume workouts. He reports to Minnesota in September, he said.

But Saturday was about Corsicana, addressing the sizable crowd at the rally, visiting family and friends and stopping by the Collin Street Bakery.

"My mom has everything squared away," Johnson said with a smile. "She's cooking, everybody's coming over so you can't ever beat that."

Terry Seth, the Y's executive director, introduced Johnson as a high schooler who always included everyone in pickup games he played there. He also referenced Johnson's wide smile, which was on display as well.

"Growing up, I didn't have the role models in my life that did that for me," he said. "I looked up to my brother and my father a lot, who were taking time out of their busy schedules to help me out.

"So I'm really trying to do that for (kids). ... Seeing their faces light up, there's no better feeling than that."

Johnson was slowed by a lingering hamstring injury during summer league games but said he will report to training camp 100 percent. The Syracuse product will be reunited with former Orange teammate Jonny Flynn in Minnesota, as well as fellow lottery pick Michael Beasley on a young, athletic Timberwolves squad.

"Not many people can say they play with a great friend," Johnson said of Flynn. "I'm really happy with that, but he's a great player as well. Going to Minnesota I feel like I fit their program really well. I'll just try to come in there and play as soon as possible."

Johnson said the trio of Flynn, Beasley and he will try to recreate the dynamic of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who utilitzed a young, athletic team to reach the playoffs the last two years.

"We're very young, very explosive," he said. "We'll try to use that to our benefit. Youth in the league is hard to try to win games (with) but we're really going to try to make that our best step forward."

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Want to “Sound off” on this story? E-mail Joe Zigtema at joe@

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