The Minnesota Timberwolves haven’t sniffed the Finals in over 15 years. But T-Wolves Gaming managed to get there as an expansion team.
As one of four NBA 2K League expansion teams this year, T-Wolves Gaming opened the season 3-6. They fired their coach and traded away their best player. What happened next defined the remainder of the season.
T-Wolves Gaming has been on a season-defining run. Now, with 11 straight wins and two playoff series sweeps, this virtual team is playing for real. With worldwide recognition, the 2019 NBA 2K League Championship Trophy and a share of the $360,000 prize pool, T-Wolves Gaming is looking to win big this weekend.
We sat down with T-Wolves Gaming power forward Josiah Oetjen (JoJo) to discuss his squad’s impressive run. Citing team buy-in and trusting each other, JoJo praised this team’s turnaround, saying that “we started playing for each other’s success and not just our own.”
If you have never clicked over to Twitch to catch a game, you might be surprised to see intentional basketball being played. JoJo, who played two years of collegiate ball for Cincinnati Christian University, said the mental preparations for the 2K League aren’t much different from that of suiting up on a real basketball.
Oetjen reflected, “We run real sets, play real defenses, practice real out-of-bounds plays. We execute real basketball, but on a different kind of court.”
Having logged into to Twitch to watch the playoff games two weeks ago, I saw firsthand what JoJo was talking about. T-Wolves Gaming is well-coached. They watch film of other teams watching for other player’s tendencies. Jojo stated, “When you know what an opposing player wants to do, when you can spot those tendencies, you can really wreak havoc on their game plan.”
“The 2K League is intense, exciting and super entertaining,” declares Jojo. He continued, “If you’ve never watched a game, be ready for a fun and a lot trash talk. We’re all having a great time doing this.”
If you happen to twitch the 2K League Finals on Aug. 3, Oetjen says to watch out for Radiant, a 2019 2K League MVP finalist, for the 76ers GC, who might just be the best virtual point guard in the world. JoJo says, “Radiant’s 2K IQ is special and handle is incredible.” T-Wolves Gaming is led by Michael Key, their top offensive player, also known as BearDaBeast.
Another player to watch is Mihad “FEAST” Feratovic, who played for 76ers GC in 2018, but was left unprotected in the expansion draft. T-Wolves Gaming drafted him with the sixth pick in the expansion draft. FEAST is a defensive force averaging 2.8 blocks through the playoffs. FEAST also won the 2019 Intel Performance NBA 2K League Sportsmanship Award.
Playing at the NBA 2K League Studio Powered by Intel in New York City, the 2K League Finals begin Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. CT. If necessary, Game 5 will be played at 6 p.m. CT later that same night. Games can be viewed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.