Draft Party a Hit With Fans
With this year’s NBA Draft labeled the franchise’s most important in over a decade by many experts, it was no surprise that Wolves fans turned out in droves for the Official 2007 Timberwolves Draft Party at the Target Center Thursday night. Hundreds of passionate Minnesota supporters were treated to live commentary from FSN broadcasters Jim Petersen and Tom Hanneman, player autographs, free Timberwolves prizes and merchandise, a catered dinner and drink specials at NBA City Restaurant.
In addition, ESPN’s live broadcast of the draft was displayed on the Target Center’s oversized LCD video screen, which was lowered to nearly floor level.
“(The party) is great,” said longtime season ticket holder Deb DeSerano. “We were wondering why we haven’t come before!”
Season ticket holders and other diehard fans alike waited with bated breath as the Timberwolves prepared to make their much-anticipated selection with the seventh and 41st overall picks. Even before Florida Gator teammates Corey Brewer and Chris Richard were tabbed as the newest Timberwolves, the ever-knowledgeable Minnesota fan base was not short on opinions.
“With all the intrigue surrounding draft pick number seven, we just had to see it for ourselves,” said Jeff Smith, a long-time season ticket holder who tagged Brewer and Georgetown’s Jeff Green as his favorites before the draft began. “We’re hoping this draft choice brings more excitement to the Target Center.”
Rumors and speculation were the talk of the town in the hours and days preceding Thursday’s draft, and even though the Timberwolves were not involved in any additional transactions (as of late Thursday night), some fans felt the team was not done with its off-season dealings.
“All the talk about the Garnett trade piqued our curiosity enough that we wanted to see what would happen,” said season ticket holder Roger DeSerano. “Even though nothing happened tonight, I think later on this summer (the team) will be working some angles and we might see some trades.”
When the Wolves’ selection of Corey Brewer was announced on ESPN, it was met with rousing applause from the fans gathered in the arena. But it was a small but vocal group of fans brandishing a Florida Gators banner that stood out the most.
“We're all happy (with the Brewer and Richard picks),” said Mike Altieri, who is a member of the Northwoods Gator Club, the “official” Florida University alumni club of Minnesota. “It's great. It's great to be a Timberwolves fan, and you guys are going to get a little taste of Southern Gator style, baby!”
The Florida alumni weren’t the only ones enthralled by the selections of Brewer and Richard. Many party attendees felt that Thursday’s draft could prove to be a turning point for the franchise.
“I’m overjoyed,” said season ticket holder Kevin Myers about the Brewer selection. “18 months ago I saw Corey Brewer on the court and I said ‘I want that guy on our team.’ He’s a game changer, if you ask me.”
“I think it’s a great pick,” said Paul Shrewsbury, a fan from St. Paul who made the trek to Target Center for the party. “We have a young team, but Brewer is a mature college player who will fit in well. He could be the missing piece of the puzzle.”
With all the festivities, intrigue and excitement, the Thursday’s event was a night to remember for Minnesota basketball fans.
“We had a blast tonight,” said Shrewsbury’s sister Catherine. “We got autographs from Craig Smith, who was a great guy, and just had a ton of fun.”