Reminiscing With Ratke: Catching Up With Ridnour

This column is about three weeks late, so my apologies.

On Dec. 28, I had the chance to go to Milwaukee to watch the Bucks take on the Wolves. There were tons of things I took away from that night. There was the Greek Freek. There was Brandon Knight. There was Kentavious Youngblood from the Star Tribune. There was the hot dog bun I devoured as I left the arena because I was starving.

The one thing that stuck with me was chatting with former Minnesota point guard Luke Ridnour. Ridnour was traded to the Bucks during the offseason as part of the Kevin Martin trade.

After watching Ridnour play so bravely for the Wolves last season (he played both point guard and shooting guard. If you’ve seen Luke in person, you know he SHOULDN’T be playing shooting guard), you’d think for sure that wherever he was, he’d be contributing.

Especially if he was on the NBA’s worst team, right?

2012-13 stats for Ridnour: 82 games started (ties a career-high), 30.2 minutes per game,11.5 points per game, 3.8 assists per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, 45.4 FG%, 84.8 FT%

Seems like a durable guy who should at least be getting minutes as a backup point guard, right? Here are his 2013-14 stats with Milwaukee through 38 games:

27 games, 9 starts, 23 minutes per game, 6.4 points per game, 3.7 assists per game, 2.0 rebounds per game, 40 FG%, 64.7 FT%

Now, unless Ridnour’s game fell off like Donovan McNabb’s, I think that this guy should be playing some more minutes. Maybe there’s something that I don’t know here. I’m not here to question Larry Drew’s coaching. This is a rebuilding team and maybe playing guys like Brandon Knight and Nate Wolters makes sense, but if you’ve got a valuable player on the bench that everyone in the league seems to respect, wouldn’t you play him? Or at least try to trade him?

The good news is that Ridnour had a solid game Wednesday, scoring nine points to go with nine assists, six rebounds and a steal in more than 42 minutes on the court. It marked the fifth time Ridnour played 30 or more minutes in a game this season. He did it 47 times last season. I chatted with Ridnour a bit before the game. Obviously I didn’t know him like others in the organization. This is my first year with the club, but man, what a nice dude. I told him about his second game with the Wolves during their win against Milwaukee back in 2010. I was at the game. After the win, an emotional Ridnour grabbed the microphone and thanked everyone for coming out. That meant a lot to fans that this little, scrappy point guard actually liked us.

“I enjoyed it, you know. Obviously we never really made it where we wanted to just from injuries and stuff like that,” Ridnour said about his time in Minnesota. “Just to play for you know, Coach Adelman was something that, I’m very blessed to have had that opportunity and for that experience.”

Whatever happens with Ridnour in the future, I wish him nothing but the best. Truly a class-act dude. Oh, and there’s this:

He’s the little engine that can. I hope his playing time keeps up for the rest of this season with Milwaukee. He certainly a role model off the court, but on the court, his toughness isn’t matched by many at all. That’s something this young Bucks team could benefit from.

Expect some more content on my Milwaukee trip with the Bucks come to the Target Center on March 11.

Well folks, that's all I've got this week. As always thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend.