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Continued: Randy Wittman: Straight shooter

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 27, 2007 - 10:12 PM

Q So ... who's your starting five?

A I don't know. I have no clue. I really don't. These guys are going to prove to me who should start.

Q Without rolling the first basketball out yet, what do you know definitively about this team already?

A We're bigger and much more athletic. Last year, I was really disappointed because we were a team that wouldn't run. You ask any player how they want to play and they say they want to run. OK, then, well, get out and run. Every time I watched, I saw my guys walking the wings. I've got guys -- [Corey] Brewer, [Rashad] McCants, [Gerald] Green, [Sebastian] Telfair, Randy [Foye] -- now who are going to fly. We're not going to be Phoenix, but I don't want to be a team that walks the ball down and plays 5-on-5 basketball. We've got to be able to learn to score as many easy baskets as we can. If you're playing the 1-2-3 positions, you better run. If you can't run, you're probably not going to play.

Q Considering your personality and philosophies, how well suited are you to coaching such a young team?

A It's going to be interesting. As I tell myself and tell management, we have to have patience. We've got to. I'm an extremely, extremely competitive guy. I love winning more than anybody, so that's going to be a test for me. If we get into a streak where it gets a little bumpy, where's my patience?

Q KG was this franchise's face for more than a decade. Who is it now?

A I think that will be painted for us. You can't make it somebody. That's got to be something that emerges. Nobody envisioned when KG came here as an 18-year-old rookie that he'd be what he turned out to be. You can't envision it. It might not be just one player.

Q What will this franchise miss most about KG?

A Oh, geez. We're going to miss everything. He's a Hall of Fame player. We'll miss his enthusiasm, his versatility, his smile. He played as hard as he possibly could every night, whether he had good games or bad games. His personality was just infectious. There were a lot of things that I think I'm going to find out I took for granted with him.

Q When your first head-coaching job in Cleveland ended six years ago, some players there said you didn't communicate well with them and they didn't know their roles. In hindsight, was that valid criticism?

A I was a player. You hear one of two things when guys are not playing: Either, 'There's no communication' or 'I don't know my role.' I'm a straight shooter. These guys will know their roles. I will tell you how it is and what my beliefs are. And I expect the same the other way, whether it's positive or negative. You never know when something is brewing if you keep it inside.

  • TIMBERWOLVES • Q&A with randy wittman

    Training camp opens Saturday • Preseason opener: at Istanbul, Turkey • 1 p.m. Oct. 6

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