Kyrylo Fesenko wants to make Timberwolves roster so he can bring family over from Ukraine


Kyrylo Fesenko is a long-shot to make the Timberwolves roster. They come into camp loaded at center with Nikola Pekovic as the starter, then Ronny Turiaf and Gorgui Dieng behind him.

But Fesenko has motivation to make the roster. Not just getting a nice NBA payday, but something far more serious. Jerry Zgoda has the details at the Star Tribune (hat tip Ball Don’t Lie).

Fesenko says he wants to reclaim an NBA job so he can bring his mother, wife and other relatives to the United States from his hometown in Ukraine, the divided, strife-torn Eastern European country in which Fesenko was born on Christmas Eve 1986 and raised.

His hometown of Dnipropetrovsk is far from the disputed portions of Ukraine, a four-hour drive that has brought refugees but no fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists to the industrial central region of the country where his mother and wife live. Fesenko and his wife were married in June.

That’s pressure.

Timberwolves president Flip Saunders was fair, saying he may not make the Minnesota roster but he would get a chance to showcase what he can do for other teams. By the end of camp there is a chance someone may want his services, although he has spent the past few seasons overseas.

As for being a hawk or dove in his native country, Fesenko spoke like someone who had seen war on his doorstep not as something you send drones off to do in a far-away land.

“I think war is the outdated solution to any conflict,” said Fesenko, a 2007 second-round pick by Philadelphia who was traded to Utah and played four seasons for the Jazz. He hasn’t played regularly in the NBA since 2011. “It’s just ridiculous and stupid and I’m very worried about my mom, my wife, all my friends. Two of my friends already enlisted in the army and I really don’t want that to happen. I’m all up for fighting the good cause, but I just don’t want to lose any of my childhood friends.”