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Call Him Nonstop: Okogie’s Energy Making An Impression

At his first official NBA practice, Timberwolves rookie Josh Okogie made it clear that he’s not going to back down from a challenge. There are many ways for a young player to carve out an NBA role, but the most tried and true method is playing hard every single minute on the court. It’s still early, but it seems like Okogie’s relentless energy will become his calling card in the league.

Veterans Anthony Tolliver and Tyus Jones were quick to praise the rookie’s hustle after practice on Tuesday.

“I told him about a week ago, ‘If you do nothing else for us this year, if you bring that type of energy on a daily basis you’re going to get on the court and you’re going to help us win games,’” said Tolliver. “I think he understands that.”

“Josh’s energy is through the roof,” said Jones. “He never stops, on both ends of the floor. His motor is crazy. That’s something that’s going to really help this team, because that’s contagious.”

Okogie’s effort isn’t by accident—while he’s naturally competitive, he also knows that the best way for him to find time on the court is by being relentless every time he gets a chance.

“I’ve always been an energetic kid growing up and that carries onto the court. I just get this burst of energy when I see a loose ball or there’s a turnover and I have to get back,” he said. “It’s worked out for me, and my brother always told me if something’s working out for you don’t go away from it, so I’ll continue to use that energy to my advantage.”

What makes Okogie so special is his ability to attack practice and drills with the same ferocity that he takes into games. Even when he’s guarding his teammates he makes his presence felt. The rest of the team is taking notice.

“The level of energy that he plays with is noticeable, it’s tangible. It’s something you can see daily. What he did today was he made his mark known. He wasn’t in the locker room but several guys were like ‘Holy crap, Josh plays with so much energy,’” said Tolliver. “If you’re going to handle the ball against him or you’re going to go against him he’s going to fight you.”

The NBA is a long season and it’s not an easy task to sustain constant energy when the grind gets underway. However, playing hard is such an integral part of Okogie’s identity that it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that the rookie will play an important roll as a spark plug off the Wolves bench. As Jones said, Okogie’s energy is contagious. If he can keep it up, we’ll definitely be seeing more of him.