Coach Offers Blunt
Review of Wolves
Randy Wittman was direct and honest in his post-game news conference
last night following the Timberwolves’ 100-95 loss to the third year
expansion Charlotte Bobcats. After watching his team lose a 17 point
second quarter lead and offer up a dismal second half effort, Wittman,
now 5-9 since being named coach in late January, let loose with a candid
and stinging evaluation of the Timberwolves.
message was the players think of themselves before the team and he
asserted that after awhile Wednesday night they quit playing. He talked
about a “frame of mind focused on me rather than we.” The frustrated
coach complained that his players thought about “am I getting enough
shots? Is the ball touching my hands enough?”
tired of guys pouting on the floor during the game because of whatever,
not enough minutes, not enough touches,” Wittman said. “You can’t do
that and win games. Give me five (unselfish) guys who have no talent
and you’re still going to lose the game but you’re going to go down
fighting. We didn’t go down fighting tonight.
want five guys who will play for the team. Their no. 1 goal is not to
score 16 points and get 10 rebounds. It’s to win the game. I need five
of those guys. I would much rather lose that way. …”
Timberwolves are 3-7 in their last 10 games, have lost two straight
since the All-Star break last weekend, and are 25-29 overall and in a
fight for the eighth and last position in the Western Conference
playoffs. The season so far has been more about frustration and
disappointment than promise and celebration.
Players left the locker room soon after the game, including Kevin
Garnett who wasn’t available to answer questions. Point guard
Mike James admitted there has been players-only meetings to address
problems but didn’t seem enthusiastic about the usefulness of future
meetings. “It’s not what you say,” James said. “It’s what you do on
the court and that’s the main thing, what we do on the court.”
doubt neither management nor players are happy with this team’s season
so far. Inconsistency has characterized team play such as last night
when the Timberwolves had 19 assists in the first half and two in the
second. Management has been working overtime looking at trades to
change the roster. With the trade deadline today, the team will either
soon have a new look or be status quo until April when the season ends.
The best result for the Timberwolves, given their need for a major
talent upgrade, is to miss the playoffs and be positioned to draft an
outstanding college player next June.
faces, from college or other NBA teams, with more talent and team
values, are needed to improve the Timberwolves. Without those changes,
fans will continue to show the apathy so apparent last night when
despite the team collapse boos were seldom heard.
“I am tired of guys pouting on the floor
during the game because of whatever, not enough minutes, not enough
Point guard Mike James admitted
there has been players-only meetings to address problems but didn’t seem
enthusiastic about the usefulness of future meetings.
Grier, Other Ex-Gophers See the World
Depending on the source, you will find the world has about 200
countries. It seems like the domestic agenda for many includes having a
professional basketball league. A man drew this conclusion hearing the
news that the darling of Gopher basketball last season and the year
before, Vince Grier, has made his way to
South Korea where playing professionally will make him a faster buck
than the NBA’s Development League that he exited from here in the
was not chosen in last spring’s NBA draft but signed with the Miami Heat
where he was the last player cut coming out of training camp. He played
in only three pre-season games, averaging 3.3 points on 72% shooting.
He averaged just 12 minutes of playing time.
experience was far different from Minnesota where he was the team’s star
averaging 16.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.12 steals during
his two seasons. Last season in Big Ten Conference games only, he
finished 14th in scoring, ninth in rebounding and third in
steals. He was third team all-Big Ten as chosen by the conference
not easy to make an NBA roster as a free agent, particularly as a player
with no pro experience. Still, Grier is a prospect worth following in
future years and he likely will try for an NBA roster spot come fall.
Minnesota Grier was a savior whose athleticism and scoring helped the
Gophers reach the NCAA tournament in 2005. The 6-foot-5 Grier is a
slashing offensive player with an inconsistent jump shot. He’s so
left-hand dominant that it can seem like he doesn’t have a right hand.
Defensively, Grier looked ready for the NBA in college.
Timberwolves’ assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg agrees with
the assessment of Grier offered here. He was asked if Grier, possibly a
fit at shooting guard or small forward, can play in the NBA. “We’ll
see,” Hoiberg answered. “It all depends on how he plays and… getting
put in the right situation would be a big part of it.”
is on a list of former Gophers globetrotting around the world. The
University sports information department has tracked the following
players: Antoine Broxie and Terrance Simmons, Saudia
Arabia; Adam Boone and Mo Hargrow, Austria; Arriel
McDonald and Quincy Lewis, Spain; Jerry Holman,
Turkey; Michael Bauer, Germany; Sam Jacobson, Italy;
Dusty Rychart, Australia.
“It all depends on how he plays and…
getting put in the right situation would be a big part of it.”
Fred Hoiberg on Vince Grier's NBA chances
Worth Noting & Quoting
of America’s most authoritative baseball sources, the Sporting News and
Sports Headliners, are picking the Twins to defeat the Mets in the 2007
radio history will be made on Wednesday, February 28 when KSTP broadcasts the
Twins spring game against the Boston Red Sox starting at 6 p.m. From 1961
through last season all Twins radio games were on WCCO.
WCCO’s Sunday morning sports programming is feeling the competition. Based on the latest ratings, fall 2006, WCCO is still
No. 1 in total listeners but not in men 25-54. KFAN is no. 1 in the 9
a.m. to 11 a.m. ratings while KSTP is no. 1 in 10 a.m. to noon.
source said University president Bob Bruininks and Detroit
Pistons basketball coach Flip Saunders are friends. Both were at
Sunday’s Gopher-Ohio State game.
Gophers’ Lawrence McKenzie, one of the conference’s leading
scorers, will receive consideration from voters for all-Big Ten
Conference honors. After
last night’s Gopher loss to Indiana he had made one or more three point
shots in 36 consecutive games.
Minnesota Wild general manager and president Doug Risebrough was
asked to name a player who has particularly pleased him this season. “I
would say Pierre-Marc Bouchard. He’s an
offensive player who is finding a way to contribute more offensively.
It doesn’t always translate into goals or assists but he’s a threat more
often… and a player they (the opponents) have to watch.”
Wild’s Wes Walz is scheduled for an appearance from 3 p.m. to 4
p.m. on Friday at the Crown Royal Minnesota Golf Show at the Metrodome.
Matt Birk of the Vikings is scheduled from 11
a.m. to noon on Saturday.
The Timberwolves are celebrating Crunch's
birthday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Friday in the skyway area near the
team’s Target Center office. Crunch and dance team members will be there
and the public can participate in games and eat cupcakes.
radio history will be made on February 28 when KSTP broadcasts the Twins
spring game against the Boston Red Sox starting at 6 p.m.