TORONTO — Jonny Flynn entered the locker room an hour before tip-off, his cell phone immediately emitting a tell-tale beep. One more text. One more well-wisher making contact. One more reminder that it all began 90 minutes away, on the playgrounds of the Cataract City, continuing on to the gyms of Niagara Falls High School and elsewhere in Western New York.
What is he now, all of 20 years old? All of 20 and yet the floor general of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team in transition, a club out to redefine itself under new coach Kurt Rambis, a protege of Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson. Just three years ago he was a senior at Niagara Falls, where people would point and acknowledge "That Jonny, he just might make it big."