Anthony Bennett talks to the campers
Anthony Bennett hosted a youth skills camp at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School in Etobicoke from July 29 to 31. Fresh off a silver medal performance at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, the Timberwolves forward talked to On Point’s Charles Vanegas (@charlesvanegas) about the tournament, playing with Jamal Murray and looking back at the trade from Cleveland.
How many kids do you have at the camp, and what was your goal with this?
We have about 200-300 combined [between the younger and older groups.]
I just felt like this was something to do, to help the kids develop and put this basic routine in their heads as they grow. There are a lot of coaches here to teach them skills, but also things like taking care of your body. Little stuff can turn into a big issue down the road.
It’s conveniently timed alongside Caribana. Was that on purpose?
Yeah. I knew everybody was going to come out [to Toronto] this time of year, and we could bring a lot more people out to the camp and show face. And we all have a lot of family and friends out here.
Any weekend plans?
I’ll just be chilling with family and friends. I’m not really trying to do anything downtown. I [went to the parade] for a couple of years, last year too.
Are you too famous now?
(Laughs) Nah, [I’m] never too famous, I’m just not going this year.
Steve Nash and Jay Triano said beforehand that they wanted the Pan Am Games to be a jump-starter for your career. Was that your mentality going in?
Jay Triano and I talked about it a little before, just to go out there and play with a clear mind. That’s what he really wanted me to do, just run and rebound and everything will take care of itself.
Fast Break action
Obviously you had a lot of success at the tournament, even shooting 100% one game (6-for-6 from the field, 2-of-2 from three). Did you feel this was the tournament that you needed?
I can’t be satisfied with that. I’ve got to continue building, continue working … I’ve just got to always be in the gym to perfect my craft.
A lot of the coverage on you seems to suggest that you have a chip on your shoulder, or at least should have a chip on your shoulder. Do you feel like that?
It may seem that way, but not really. I just want to be the best I can be on the court and help out any way I can — if it’s rebounding, if it’s defending, taking shots … I just want to be effective on the court.
One of the biggest splashes at Pan Ams was by Jamal Murray. It seems like you guys clicked. What is it like playing with him?
He’s definitely a solid point guard that can also take over a game when needed. At the Pan Ams, you could definitely see that in a couple games. He just sets everything off, just going crazy, going nuts. But he also makes good decisions, he’s a good passer. I wish him the best.
Pan Am Games Training Camp: Bennett defending against Sim Bhullar
Looking back at the trade from Cleveland, what is your mindset?
I’m in a better place, I’ll say. There’s a lot of young talent, and you get to go back to Minnesota with a clear mind.
I feel like every season there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs, so you’ve got to put everything to the side and just do what you do. … [But] yeah, definitely there’s more motivation when we play them.
You probably have memories as a kid watching Kevin Garnett play. What was it like when that trade happened?
It was definitely a different vibe after. He’s a real intense guy, but real cool. He wants to help and watch you grow along the way. Just to have him here, it’s definitely a good feeling.
He just said he was going to push me … it was unfortunate that I got hurt just a few days after. Hopefully this year I’ll have a full year’s experience with Kevin Garnett.
You guys have a game up in Winnipeg vs. the Bulls (Oct. 10 at the MTS Centre). Ever been?
I haven’t been to Winnipeg, but I was saying recently that I want to visit different parts of Canada because I haven’t really been out there that much. But I’ve been all over the States. I’ve been to Kamloops, B.C., Prince Edward Island and Montreal, and that’s pretty much it.
Written by Charles Vanegas
Photos by Charles Vanegas
Edited by Drew Ebanks