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Updated: June 15th, 2010 9:10pm
Wesley Johnson works out for Wolves, gets endorsement from Jonny Flynn

Wesley Johnson works out for Wolves, gets endorsement from Jonny Flynn

by Tom Pelissero
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jonny Flynn knows he's biased, but that's not stopping the Minnesota Timberwolves' point guard from making his pitch for the team to draft his buddy Wesley Johnson">Wesley Johnson.

"It's more than that -- I think he really fills a void that we really need," Flynn said of Johnson, the 6-foot-7 probable lottery pick who went through a private workout for Wolves officials on Tuesday at Target Center.

"He can really shoot the ball really well. He runs the floor well. He's long and athletic, can fit in the lanes defensively, can come help-side on blocked shots. But other than him being a good friend, we really could use him on this team."

The pair never played together, but Johnson was on Syracuse's 2008-09 roster -- he had to sit out the year because of NCAA rules after transferring from Iowa State -- as Flynn played his way into a lottery selection of his own.

"From Day 1," said Flynn, who considers Johnson part of his inner circle, "when he came out there on the court, I knew, if we would have had him that year, we would have definitely been Final Four-bound. I told a lot of people about him, and he definitely lived up to the hype this past year."

Wolves General Manager David Kahn recalls Flynn first raising Johnson's name last fall, before Johnson emerged from relative anonymity to average 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.8 blocks and 41.5 percent shooting from 3-point range -- all of which ranked among the Big East Conference's top 10.

And Flynn was on hand Tuesday, when Johnson became the first potential candidate for the Wolves' No. 4 overall selection to be put through the ringer at Target Center. The workout ended a little early because Johnson was battling a sore toe, but Kahn indicated he came away impressed.

"He's got a beautiful stroke," Kahn said. "He has almost a classic basketball body. Good height. I thought he picked up things up very quickly during the workout. He clearly can run, which is important to all of us in terms of how we want to play."

Georgia Tech forward Derrick Favors is scheduled to work out for the Wolves on Thursday, and Kahn said he remains hopeful Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins will change his mind and make a visit as well before the June 24 draft.

"You never know who else might come in," Kahn said. "I know that we will have an opportunity to draft a very, very good player at No. 4, whoever that player may be."

The Wolves own two other first-round picks (Nos. 16 and 23) as well as two second-rounders (Nos. 45 and 56) in a draft that will play a key role in turning around one of the NBA's worst teams.

Listed at 205 pounds last season and knocked at times for not playing physically, Johnson is trying to bulk up -- he said he weighs 210 and may try to play at 215 or 220 -- but projects as a small forward in the NBA.

The Wolves were the first of roughly a dozen teams Johnson met with at the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago, and Tuesday's visit also was his first -- he's headed to New Jersey (which owns the No. 3 pick) on Thursday and also will visit Philadelphia (No. 2).

Though Johnson says he's ignored mock drafts, he's heard plenty of about them from friends and family members -- and knows Minnesota is a popular prediction for him.

"That's what they say," Johnson said. "I would love to play here. I really would, especially with Jonny here and then talking with the people here. They're a wonderful group of people."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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