Hartman: Budinger sees himself as good fit for Wolves

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2012 - 11:45 PM

The team's latest acquisition believes Rick Adelman's system of constant movement plays to his strengths.

Chase Budinger, the 6-7 forward acquired from Houston for the Timberwolves' 18th overall draft choice Tuesday, had good words to say about former Wolves general manager and coach Kevin McHale, who coached Budinger with the Rockets last season. But at the same time, he welcomed the opportunity to again play his style of basketball for Rick Adelman, which he did for two years with the Rockets.

"McHale? He's a good coach. He helped me a lot," Budinger said. "He really focused on defense. He really pushed me on the defensive end at getting better and being smarter and being more physical, things like that. He also challenged me on getting rebounds."

However, the former University of Arizona standout said he believes he is more suited to play Adelman's style.

"They are different-type coaches, two completely different styles," he said. "You really can't explain their different styles, it'd be too long. But they're both great coaches. Adelman has been in this for a long time, and McHale has been playing for a long time and been around basketball for a long time, too. They both have great basketball minds, and they both want to win."

Budinger said he was a spot player for McHale but believes he will start for Adelman.

"I feel that I'm in a system [with the Timberwolves] that definitely fits my style and my game," he said. "I feel it's going to show next year. Last year there were times where I wasn't able to do much besides just sit on the three-point line and wait for the ball to get to me, but you really can't do that in Adelman's system. There's always got to be moving, picks and cutting. I think those are my strengths."

Despite being in a system that he thought didn't necessarily fit his talents, last season Budinger posted career highs in three-point percentage (40.2), field-goal percentage (44.2), rebounds (3.1 per game) and minutes (22.4 per game). He averaged 9.6 points per game, just below his career high of 9.8.

Budinger added: "Like I said, [McHale] used me more as a spot shooter, creating from a point guard and then they kick it out for three-point shots to me. Then it was from one end to the other and getting into a pick-and-roll, they started using that more often with me because I was able to make plays out of it."

Coming out of high school, Budinger was a McDonald's All-American at La Costa Canyon (Calif.) and was ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the 2006 recruiting class by Rivals.com -- a class that included Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. He decided to go to Arizona over offers from his hometown schools of UCLA and USC, and averaged 17 points and 5.8 rebounds over three years there.

Wolves General Manager David Kahn has taken some deserved criticism for the drafting of Jonny Flynn and Wes Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins -- none of those high picks has turned out to be a superstar. But rest assured, Adelman has a lot to do with this trade after coaching Budinger for two years.

Teague honored

New Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague was honored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), being named one of the winners of the Under Armour AD of the Year Award at the national convention Monday in Dallas. Teague, who served six years at Virginia Commonwealth before being hired at Minnesota, was selected the Division I Southeast Region winner.

The award recognizes the efforts of athletic directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to campuses and surrounding communities.

To be considered for the award, an AD must serve for a minimum of five years, with a demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes, continuous teamwork, loyalty, excellence and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments.

Jones playing well

Standout Apple Valley point guard Tyus Jones played well in two games with USA Basketball's U17 team in the Canary Islands tournament -- a tuneup for the FIBA U17 World Championships in Lithuania beginning Friday.

In a 108-72 victory over Latvia on Sunday, Jones had 10 assists and five steals in 26 minutes. He scored only two points but took only three shots. Then in an 89-64 victory over Australia on Monday, Jones had eight points on 4-for-8 shooting and five assists in 28 minutes.

Jones' U.S. team will again face Australia in the preliminary round of the World Championships on Friday.

Jottings

• Twins first baseman Justin Morneau and his wife, Krista, who are expecting their second child, will match up to $25,000 in contributions to help the city of Duluth recover from the recent disastrous floods there. U.S. Bank is handling the funds, and donations can be made at www.twinsbaseball.com/donate.

• Gophers pitching coach Todd Oakes has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and has been admitted to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview for treatment. A get-well site has been set up for him at www.caringbridge.org/visit/toddoakes. So far over 6,000 hits have been made at the site. ... Todd's son -- former Gophers pitcher TJ Oakes, who was drafted by Colorado -- pitched four innings against Vancouver on Sunday and allowed no runs and one hit for the Tri-City Dust Devils of the Northwest League in Pasco, Wash.

• Gophers football coach Jerry Kill, who has suffered seizures in the past, continues to make appearances to help those with a similar problem. He and his wife, Rebecca, recently made a surprise appearance at Camp Oz in Hudson, Wis., to speak to about 100 kids who have epilepsy.

• The Gophers agreed to a request from Navy to drop football games scheduled for Sept. 14, 2019, at Minnesota and in September the next year at Navy.

• Former Gophers catcher Kyle Knudson is hitting .406 in nine games for Fort Myers after hitting .250 in 56 at-bats at Beloit.

• Five former Notre Dame football players are now on the Vikings roster -- center John Sullivan, tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson and safeties Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton. Blanton, who graduated early, will miss out on a trip to join the Irish on Sept. 1 when they play Navy in the Emerald Isle Classic at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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