After passing a pop quiz, Richard seeks more tests

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 20, 2007 - 10:36 PM

The 6-9, 255-pound rookie is willing to accept a secondary role, but he stepped up when asked to show what he has to offer.

TOM WALLACE ¥ twallace@startribune.comASSIGN#113200 SLUG: 1wolf.#1133200Chris Richards passes the ball during drills at the Wolves first preseason practice at the Target Center Saturday.

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

MILWAUKEE - Accustomed to sacrifice and uncertainty, Timberwolves rookie Chris Richard didn't clean out his ears or hesitate when he sat for the first 52 minutes of Friday's preseason game at Indiana and then was summoned onto the court with 45 seconds left in overtime.

Wolves coach Randy Wittman called on Richard unexpectedly, wanting to test the second-round draft pick from Florida in a pressure situation. Richard delivered a buzzer-beating tip-in that forced a second overtime and a blocked shot with 16 seconds remaining to ensure a 113-110 double-overtime victory, the team's first victory in four games against NBA opponents.

"That's what a professional does," Wittman said. "He just grew up right there."

Richard, a 6-9, 255-pound power forward, left high school as Florida's Mr. Basketball and accepted -- begrudgingly at first -- a complementary role to Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Al Horford at Florida that brought him four starts in four years and two NCAA titles. A big fellow who averaged 17 points and 14 rebounds a game in high school, he never approached double figures in any category in college, but he owns two championship rings and a certain peace of mind now that he is searching to find his way in pro ball.

"This transition is a lot easier for me, because I've been through this before," he said.

It took long conversations with his family four years ago before he found acceptance with his place on the Gators.

"It was tough, but I learned and I'm happy I learned from it," Richard said. "I learned patience, man. It was really tough my freshman year, but I'd rather be on that team and do the things I did and win games and championships than be on any other team and start and lose games. I'm not really into that. I want to win games."

Now, he is a second-round pick on a team glutted with players and big guaranteed contracts. But Wittman also suggests that Richard is unique among his teammates because of his size and manner.

"We don't have a lot of bangers," Wittman said. "He's a legitimate banger. He likes contact; he likes to hit people. Those guys are hard to come by these days. This is becoming a little bit of a finesse league, and a guy like that is important to have on your team."

The Wolves need to reduce their roster by Oct. 29 and have limited options other than buying at least one player out of his contract and making a two-for-one player trade, a difficult prospect at best. With the roster already loaded with forwards, Richard could be sent to the NBA development league if it becomes clear he won't play regularly to start the season.

"A lot of different things can happen," Wittman said, hinting that the team could make other decisions to clear space for Richard. "We like Chris. But if it's obvious he's not going to be part of an eight- or nine-man rotation, then it's going to be important for him to play."

Richard has leased a condo in the same downtown Minneapolis building as Brewer, his college pal with whom he still shares a cell-phone plan. He said, as he did at Florida, that he's willing to make whatever sacrifices are required to be a Timberwolf. His way there continued with a timely performance that Wittman said gives him confidence to call on Richard in a tough situation again.

"I didn't really see it coming, but I was ready anyway," Richard said. "I'm always ready. I've been in that situation many a time. Sometimes, it comes out like that. Sometimes, it doesn't.... I'm willing to do whatever they need me to do. I've shown before what I can do."

  • related content

  • Wolves lose game but discover Brewer

    Sunday October 21, 2007

    MILWAUKEE — The Timberwolves lost a preseason game Saturday night in Milwaukee but found Corey Brewer, their first-round draft pick...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close