The Timberwolves will have a tough choice tonight, when they are scheduled to make the third pick in the first round of the NBA draft.

I believe that if assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg is a good salesman and if the Wolves don't make a trade, they will take Southern California guard O.J. Mayo.

Hoiberg played for Southern California coach Tim Floyd at Iowa State, and they are close. Floyd also coached in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls from 1999-2002, so he has a good idea how Mayo will fit in as a pro player. I believe Floyd has sold Hoiberg on Mayo.

The one negative is the Wolves already have a Mayo-type player in Randy Foye, but Hoiberg said he believes they could play together.

"O.J., one of his biggest strengths is his defense, just getting in front of the ball," Hoiberg said. "He's got the size to guard [shooting guards] in our league. ... It gives you versatility when you have a couple combo guards on the court together."

I believe Kevin McHale, the Wolves' vice president of basketball operations, favors Kevin Love because the UCLA center/forward would make Wolves center/forward Al Jefferson that much better.

But Hoiberg likes Love, too.

"You look at Kevin Love with his outside shooting ability, his passing, his competitiveness, and he's won at every level he's been at as well," Hoiberg said. "So you have guys that have won everywhere they've been in high school and, for [Mayo and Love] just one year in college, where they led their teams to good records. So, yeah, we're going to have a tough decision to make."

Well, I believe that Love would be a great choice. The Timberwolves would have won a lot more games last year if they had Love taking the pressure off Jefferson. As a freshman, he averaged 17.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

It would be great if they make the right deal, but the safest choice would be Love.

Big change in draft

One reason the Minneapolis Lakers dominated pro basketball -- winning six league championships in the National Basketball League, the Basketball Association of America and four in the NBA in the late 1940s through the mid-'50s -- was because of a territorial draft that operated from 1947 to 1965, in which a team could forfeit its first-round pick and instead select a player from its immediate area.

Even though the Lakers already were a great team led by George Mikan and Jim Pollard, they were able to add great local players such as Vern Mikkelsen of Hamline in 1949 and Gophers Whitey Skoog in 1951 and Dick Garmaker in 1955.

Imagine the disgust of many teams when the Lakers, after winning a championship, could add to their strength by automatically getting the chance to land another star college player because of the territorial draft.

So the NBA eventually went to a coin flip from 1966 through 1984. The winner of the coin flip, between the last-place finishers in each of the two divisions, got the first pick.

The lottery was adopted in 1985 and has been going ever since. The Wolves finally got a break by getting the third pick for tonight's draft, and it will be interesting to see who they take.

Charitable Giants

Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano all came from the Giants to the Twins in the trade for catcher A.J. Pierzynski. It will go down as one of the best trades the Twins ever made.

Now the Twins have a fourth former Giant, third baseman Brian Buscher, who is hitting .368 going into Wednesday night's game and who hit his first home run of the season in the ninth inning off San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman in the Twins' 3-1 victory over the Padres on Tuesday.

Buscher, a third-round pick by the Giants from the University of South Carolina in 2003, was acquired by the Twins in the Rule 5 draft in 2006 and was called up from Class AAA Rochester on June 12.

Jottings

Among the candidates to succeed Phil Lundin as Gophers men's track coach are Minnesota cross-country coach Steve Plasencia, North Dakota State men's track and cross-country coach Don Larson and Oregon associate head track and field coach Dan Steele. I think Plasencia, with his great record as the cross-country coach, should be rewarded with the job.

Quarterback Adam Webber, wide receiver Eric Decker and linebacker Steve Davis will represent the Gophers at the annual Big Ten media conference in Chicago on July 23-24. Decker, who also is an outfielder for the Gophers baseball team and was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 39th round, got one phone call from the Brewers about his interest in turning pro. Decker told them he was going to stay at Minnesota and play football this fall and baseball next spring.

The Twins gave Gophers lefthander Kyle Carr $50,000 to sign, and he will join Gophers third baseman Nate Hanson, who got $25,000 to sign, in the Gulf Coast League. ... Andy Warg, director of booking at Target Center, reports more than a $2 million advance for the Aug. 9 fight card that features former Gopher and pro wrestler Brock Lesnar.

The Big Ten's share of the NCAA basketball tournaments is $13,821,698, to be shared by all 11 schools. ... GopherIllustrated.com reports that Gophers junior college transfer Devron Bostick scored 29 points and freshman Ralph Sampson III scored 20 points in their debuts Tuesday in the Howard Pulley League.

The Robbinsdale Cooper twins, Roszell and Rashad Gayden, will enroll at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., on July 15, according to Scout.com. Roszell, a 6-7, 295-pound offensive tackle, verbally committed to the Gophers but never signed. Rashad is a 6-2, 235-pound middle linebacker. The twins will be teammates with former Gophers quarterback Clint Brewster, who transferred there last week.

Gophers recruit Sam Maresh of Champlin Park, who will have heart surgery today at Mayo Clinic, is going to have a website to report his progress.

The following statement was issued by the Wild. It read, in part: "[Former owners] Bob and Ellis Naegele, upon the recent sale of the Wild and related entities, sent checks to employees to thank them for their assistance over the years in building a world-class facility and building a team with a winning tradition."

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast twice a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com