New York, NY - Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard Zach LaVine and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo highlight a field of four players selected to participate in the 2015 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Steph Curry Shoes Free Shipping . LaVine, though new to the league, is no stranger to dunk contests. The high- flier out of UCLA tore up amateur contests during high school and made waves with his electrifying dunks during the Seattle Pro-Am last summer. Antetokounmpo, nicknamed the Greek Freak, has tremendous athleticism to go along with his 6-foot-11 frame and massive wingspan. Joining LaVine and Antetokounmpo will be Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo and Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee. Plumlee ranks sixth in the NBA this season with 80 dunks. Antetokounmpo isnt far behind, currently sitting in 13th place with 52 jams, while neither LaVine or Oladipo rank in the top 50. After experimenting with an East vs. West format last season, the dunk contest will go back to its original structure, with all four players getting two dunks to move on to the finals, which will be head-to-head. The final round will also consists of two dunks apiece. Five judges, which have not been announced yet, will score each dunk on a 6-to-10 scale for a maximum score of 50 points. The Slam Dunk Contest will take place on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Barclays Center. Steph Curry Shoes From China . Sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun the international tournament will likely return in September 2016 rather than 2015. Steph Curry Shoes Outlet . The former central defender calmly nodded it down and quietly went about celebrating a win with his staff. For a man who has had a lot on his shoulders this season, it was an appropriate moment. https://www.stephencurryshoescheap.com/ . Each day, TSN.ca provides the latest rumours, reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. Duck Calling With several marquee centres available via trade and expected to be available via free agency, the Anaheim Ducks could be primed to be big players in the coming days.MINNEAPOLIS - Twins rookie Andrew Albers, a native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, is scheduled to start Sundays game against the Blue Jays. The outing will be Albers seventh big league start, the first two of which drew national headlines. In his debut, on August 6 in Kansas City, he held the Royals to four hits over 8 1/3 innings. His next start was even more impressive: a complete game, two-hit shutout of the Indians in Minnesota. Albers, who was drafted twice, is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA over his six starts. Albers missed the 2009 season after undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. Hes played college ball, minor league ball, on the Canadian national team, in independent pro ball and is now in the big leagues. Its been quite a ride for the 27-year-old, who sat down with TSN.ca to reflect on his path to Minneapolis. Listen to the audio or read the transcript below. TSN.ca: Andrew, youve got a great story so lets go back to the beginning and Ill ask you, and youll understand this because Im Canadian too, well get the stereotypes out of the way. How does a kid from North Battleford, Saskatchewan pick baseball over hockey? ALBERS: Well, I obviously played hockey when I was younger a little bit and found out at an early age that I wasnt that good at it so I had to find something else to do. That was one of the things that it came down to. Ive always enjoyed baseball a little bit more than I have hockey. Part of it is probably the success that Ive had playing baseball but, you know, I think I made a good choice and Im very happy with where Im at right now. TSN.ca: In North Battleford, obviously, you go through the Canadian elements. Its not a 12-month a year deal. How were you able to develop your game, keep up your game with a short season? ALBERS: Well, to be honest, its actually a little bit beneficial when you have that short season. It allows you to do some other things and play some other sports, which I was fortunate to do in high school. You dont get burned out. I think at times, nowadays, there are times when kids get too much of one sport. Everyone wants to be specialized. They want to play hockey all year, they want to play football down here, whatever the case is and at the same time, its nice to be able to play some other sports. Youre really able to focus on the sport youre playing at that time because you know its a short season, it doesnt drag on, it ends pretty quick so youve got to make the most of your opportunities and really focus on the time that youre on the field or on the court playing that particular sport. TSN.ca: When was it apparent to you that you were, not just good at baseball, but miles ahead of all your teammates and competition up in Canada? ALBERS: Well I dont know if Id say that… TSN.ca: Well, you got drafted though. ALBERS: Got drafted, yeah. There were a lot of good players back home. I mean, it was one of those things where Id been able to have some success and you know, you never know, the draft was a surprise to me. I thought there was maybe a chance, getting drafted a lot later, but Id made it pretty clear I was probably going to go to school. I wasnt even home when it happened. I was on a school trip somewhere and was shocked when somebody told me that that had happened. It was one of those things that was a surprise and I guess somebody saw something in me and it was a great honour, a tremendous feeling. It was neat to get to go through that process but, you know, at the same time its just one of those things where you continue to work hard, you continue to try to have success and you let it take you as far as it has. Fortunately for me, Ive caught some breaks along the way and its led to this point and I couldnt be happier with it. TSN.ca: Milwaukee, thats what youre talking about, took you in the 12th round in 04. When they drafted you, did that change your thinking? Did you talk to them seriously or were you committed to Kentucky? Obviously, you did the full ride there, but how did that play out in 04? ALBERS: Theres always some serious consideration when you go that high and back then, the rules were a little bit different where there werent the hard slots and things like that. We started talking from a financial standpoint, what it would take, and different ideas were thrown back and forth. There were a couple of guys, Dick Roach and one of his associates came up and had dinner with me and we talked about it and things like that. When you get drafted in a position like that, its a serious offer, something you have to take seriously so I certainly listened to both sides and for me, I just felt like it was a better decision to go to college. And its not a decision I regret even though my college career didnt go quite as well as I would have liked. At the same time, Lexington was a great fit for me and I was really fortunate to get the opportunity to go there and be a part of some special teams and a great coaching staff that I had there really helped me develop. I wouldnt have it any other way and no regrets there. TSN.ca: So lets fast-forward four years, from 2004 to 2008 when you were drafted, again, by the San Diego Padres. What was that first experience in pro ball like for you? ALBERS: It wasnt very good, to be honest. I got drafted and that part was good, I was feeling good at the end of the year and then all of a sudden, I went over to Arizona and I hurt myself right away. Unfortunately, it was an injury that just never went away and I ended up having Tommy John the next year. It was a little bit of an inauspicious start to a professional career and certainly not the way you want to go about starting but, unfortunately, it was one of those things that happened. I learned from it and it helped give me a little bit different perspective on the game and I think going through that kind of adversity and things like that, you face some adversity and it helps you along the way. You realize whats important, it helps change your perspective on things and moving forward, its a blessing in disguise. TSN.ca: So back in 2009, whats going through you head because at that point youre 23, going on 24, theres a window in this game and in every pro sport and it closes reasonably quickly. Youre lucky if you get to 35 or 40. A year away from the game, howd you recalibrate during that time? ALBERS: Its one of those things, as I said, your perspective kind of changes. For me, after surgery, rehab didnt go very well at the beginning. I was having a tough time getting my range of motion back. Now, all of a sudden, whats important is not even whether I can throw again, its just being able to move my arm. It allows you to realize how much you take things for granted even though you dont think you do. It makes you appreciate the opportunities you do get a little bit more. When I get the chance to go out and put a uniform now and get to go play and compete against the best players in the world, its an opportunity I try not to take for granted. I try to make the most of it, try to go out there and enjoy it. You never know how long the ride is going to last. Each time you get to go out there, its special. Thats how I try to approach it and like I said, you never know when its going to end. TSN.ca: I lived and worked in Ottawa for a while so I remember the Can-Am League when it made a year or two-long stop up there and thats where you pitched, for the Quebec City-based team in 2010. Youre in pro ball but not affiliated pro ball; youre literally starting from scratch at that point, arent you? ALBERS: A little bit. I mean, its one of those things, its a good league, its not a bad league. Its certainly tough to get back into the affiliated baseball from the independent leagues but there are some guys whove done it. I mean, weve got a guy, Chris Colabello, that played seven years in the Can-Am League and finally got his opportuunity and, again, made the most of it and here he is up here right now and hes trying to make his way through it as well. Cheap Steph Curry Shoes. Its one of those things thats possible and for me, that was my first season back. It was my first chance to play every day. In college, you play five times a week tops. There, in the Can-Am League, youre playing six, maybe seven times a week and you get an off day every two weeks kind of deal. For me, coming off surgery, I wasnt sure how the arm would respond and I wasnt sure if Id be able to handle that kind of workload. Fortunately, it went really well and I was able to rebound and have a good year. Unfortunately, I didnt have a secure job the next year so that led to the trip and that whole deal the next year. Its one of those things, when you look back on it, you dont want to have those regrets and you dont want to wonder, hey what if I would have done this, what if I would have done that, would things have been different? I feel pretty good about that. I can look back and say that I gave it a real shot and obviously now that its culminated in being up here, its been pretty special. TSN.ca: Tell us about your time with the national team and the couple of medals. You won the bronze at the World Baseball Cup and the gold at the Pan Am Games. Was that really the moment for you when you realized Im on the right track and can grab another shot at the brass ring? ALBERS: Fortunately for me, Id been with the Twins there for a couple of seasons going into that so I was kind of on that route anyways. Getting a chance to play for the national team is always special. For me, it was my first opportunity and I was so thankful to Greg (Hamilton) to give me that opportunity and then to go out and be able to pitch the way I was able to and contribute to the teams success was a pretty special feeling. It was one of the best runs weve had, as a country, as a mens senior baseball team, it was special. A great group of guys, we really came together in a short period of time. It made it a lot of fun, going out to the diamond every day and playing with those guys, and there were no egos there. It was very unselfish baseball and it was a lot of fun. It was fun to go back to where winning was the only thing that mattered anymore. It wasnt about your stats or your numbers, it was all about what can you do to help the team win. Thats the attitude that everybody took and it made it a lot of fun. We were able to go out and have some success and certainly getting the chance to pitch in the gold medal game against the States and be able to win that game, it was a special night and one that Ill never forget. That, along with the big league debut, are two of the nights that Ill never forget. Theyre the highlights of my career thus far and its been a lot of fun. TSN.ca: Other than a no-hitter, I dont think you could have scripted a better big league debut and here we are, exactly a month later, wasnt it August 6 when you were out there? How incredible was that? Youre sitting at your locker after the game. What are you thinking? ALBERS: Youre thinking you cant believe that just happened. It was one of those nights where everything just went right. Fortunately for me, I was able to have back-to-back nights when that happened. Theyre pretty special when they come around. In this game, they dont come around very often. I think in the three years before that, Id thrown three complete games in my career and one shutout. Its not like it was something that I was doing pretty consistently. Its a special night. Its hard to do. There arent many guys, you go through a season, I dont know what you have in a season, Id have to look at the numbers, Im guessing you have maybe 20-25 in a whole season, complete game shutouts. Theyre few and far between and youve got guys out there with a lot better stuff than I have. Its like I said, its one of those things when things go right that night. Youre on and youre able to locate with everything and youre able to get ahead. Theyre going to hit some balls hard. Its just those balls happened to get caught. The defence behind me was just outstanding that night. It was a lot of fun and you really try to appreciate those nights when they come around because you know, if youve been in this game a little while, you know they dont happen very often. It was really special. TSN.ca: Youre not a flamethrower by any stretch, 89, maybe you hit 90mph. What is the key to your success when youre out there on the mound? ALBERS: Ive got to locate and Ive got to get strike one. Ive got to get ahead. If youre ahead in the count, you get away with a few more mistakes, you get away with some pitches that maybe arent in the greatest location and you get away with a borderline pitch. Now, instead of guys being able to take it if youre 1-0 and its 1-1, now theyre more apt to swing if youre 0-1 because they dont want to get to 0-2. Nobody likes striking out. Its one of those things where I try to get guys in and out of the box as quickly as I can. Im going to be aggressive, Im going to go after them and Im going to let the defence work behind me. Theyve been outstanding for me so far this year and Im sure that will continue. Thats a big part of my game. I need them to play well behind me or Im going to be in trouble. I just dont have the stuff to go out there and strike 10, 12 guys out. Youve got to find a different way to get it done. It doesnt mean it isnt possible, it doesnt mean its any different, its just a matter of finding different ways to succeed. So far, Ive been pretty pleased with most of my starts out there. Theyve been really close. A pitch here, a couple of pitches there and thats that learning curve and the adjustments that you have to make and be able to make just that split second sooner so that you can go out and instead of giving up four or five, you give up two or three and give the team a little bit better chance to win and thats what its all about right now. TSN.ca: Now are you still a Canadian kid at heart? Do you still winter up at home? I know youve probably got some better options. How do you spend your free time when youre down from baseball? ALBERS: I go home. I go home and Ive actually been substitute teaching at my old high school there. Still a Saskatchewan boy, born and bred, and still go back there and Ill probably be back there this offseason. Well see what happens. Itll be a little bit more of an interesting offseason I think this year. Not quite sure what it has in store for me but at the same time, its nice to go back home and be part of the community that brought you up and to be able to give back a little bit. I think thats really important. Its something that I want to be able to do and its something that Ill kind of work towards. Its one of those things. Youre part of a community and the community has supported you your whole career. Now that youve gotten up here, youre not going to abandon them. Its one of those things. Theyre a part of you. Thats part of whats made you here and allowed you to be successful. Without the support back home, without the opportunities Ive had back home, I dont get here. Everyones played a role in that and there are a lot of people whove touched my life in a profound way back there and to be able to go back there and maybe give a little bit back, its special. TSN.ca: Youre paving the way for substitute teachers. You might be the guy who gets respect, finally, from the students. ALBERS: From what Ive heard, Delabar went through a similar route so he knows what its like. Its one of those things, and like I said, well see what happens there, but again thats not what its about. Its about going back and being able to give back and thats whats important. TSN.ca: Were always proud when a Canadian does well so congratulations and continued success. ALBERS: Thanks a lot, Scott, I appreciate it. ' ' '