Trent Tucker at Target Center
During halftime of the Wolves-Cavs game on Wednesday night at Target Center we spoke with Trent Tucker, a former University of Minnesota basketball great, NBA star and NBA Finals Champ. He later became a Timberwolves broadcast analyst, partnering with Kevin Harlan to form one of the best broadcast teams in Timberwolves history.
We asked Tucker some questions on the Timberwolves current makeup and the new direction in which they’re going. He also shared some thoughts with us on King James, the Gophers men’s basketball team and his new administrative position at the University of Minnesota, where he serves on the staff of System Academic Administration as a Community Relations and Youth Development coordinator.
Q: On LeBron James:
A: Lebron James is a fantastic player. He’s slowly becoming great for the league. He’s a guy that can do it all. Last year he took his team the NBA finals against the San Antonio Spurs; that shows you how quickly he has grown as a basketball player. He’s a physical specimen. I haven’t seen a player of that stature in a very long time that can combine speed, power, quickness and agility. He is something special. The one thing that amazes me the most about LeBron is that he’s the ultimate team player. He’s willing to share the wealth and he understands that by having the support of his team they can get to the NBA Championship like last year.
Q: On the Wolves this year:
A: It’s a new team. Anytime you make an overhaul change like they did and you have so many new players and young players coming in, it’s going to take some time for them to gel together. I believe that the fans are going to have to be very patient with this group. This is a young basketball team and you are going to have growing pains with a new team and a young team. It’s really hard to make an evaluation or assessment at this team because I think it’s too early.
Q: On who will be the player to step up and lead the Wolves:
A: You really don’t know who that guy is going to be because everything is too new. At some point in time you’ll find out that somebody will emerge. I think how you emerge as a player is by being consistent with your performance night in and night out.
Q: On the direction of the Wolves:
A: When you evaluate the situation you always have to ask yourself, "Where are we trying to go for this season?" If you keep the current team as it was you have to ask yourself, “Is the team in our best interests for the future?” If you say no than you have to have a plan in place that you believe can work for the season. I think by bringing in young players and new payers, they’re saying this gives them the best chance to have a better team four or five years from now. Kevin Garnett is in a wonderful place where he is because now he has a chance to play for a team that has a chance to play for the championship.
Q: On how often he’s been at Target Center this year:
A: I’ve been to a game and a half. I came out to watch the Hornets game last weekend, and now I’m coming back to watch the second half of this one. As the season moves along and my schedule frees up, I’ll have a chance to come to a few more games. I have seen every game on TV though.
Q: On the atmosphere at Target Center this season:
A: The fans are encouraged by the youth, the excitement and the energy that they bring on a nightly basis. I think it’s just the new unit, something that’s different for the first time, and they wanted to see that change.
Q: On what he’s been doing with his time:
A: I took on new position at the University of Minnesota and I’ve also doing some work for the Big Ten Network. I have a few things that kind of keep me busy, keep me going and keep me active. Once my schedule kind of slows down a little bit it will give me more opportunity to get back and watch more games at Target Center.
Q: On his position with the University of Minnesota:
A: I’ve been working with the administration and all the different departments. I’m just seeing how I can fit in and enhance some of the programs they already have in place. Right now I like the administrative aspect of my job. It gives me a chance to interact in a different way than before. 25-30 years ago I was pretty much just an athlete, so I only saw one phase of it. There are so many wonderful things about the University now that I am beginning to learn about. It’s a great opportunity for me to go back there.
Q: On the Gopher’s basketball team and their win over Iowa State last Tuesday night:
A: They played very, very well. The game wasn’t on TV, but I had a chance to listen to it on the radio. The guys played very well and they made the defensive stops when they had to. Lawrence McKenzie was very clutch coming down the stretch on the offensive end. That’s what you need. You need a player every now and then, especially on the road in a hostile environment, somebody who can step up and take charge. He has the ability to do that.