Rand: Campbell reflects on his time with Wolves

  • Updated: February 9, 2014 - 10:26 PM

Tony Campbell was part of the original Wolves roster in 1989-90, and his name remains on some of the team scoring charts. “I think the Timberwolves really put me on the map. For that I’m completely grateful,” he said.

Photo: KEN LEVINE • Getty Images,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Original Timberwolves player Tony Campbell spends most of his days a long way from Minnesota, working as the athletic director at Bay Ridge Prep School in Brooklyn, N.Y., while also coaching the basketball, baseball and soccer teams at the school.

But Campbell, who will be back at Target Center on Monday for the Rockets game when the Wolves honor him as part of their 25th season celebration, has kept a keen eye on his former franchise for the two-plus decades since he last played here.

During a discussion of the current roster, it was suggested to him that this year’s squad could one more piece — a vintage Tony Campbell providing some more wing scoring.

He chuckled. “Yeah, some more offense would help a bit,” Campbell said.

Campbell provided plenty of that with the Wolves, playing the first three seasons in the organization’s history. Kevin Garnett dominates many of the franchise’s career and single-season records, but you’ll find Campbell’s name on a lot of top 10 lists — including the second-most points scored in a single season, 1,903 in 1989-90, the Wolves’ first season.

When pressed, Campbell even included himself on a list of all-time Wolves greats. He also included Garnett, Tom Gugliotta, Kevin Love and Al Jefferson in that group of five. Campbell poured in nearly 5,000 points in his three seasons in Minnesota. Of his 224 career starts, 193 came with the Wolves.

“The Timberwolves were the first team that gave me the ball and made me who I am,” he said. “Yes, I won a championship with the Lakers, but I think the Timberwolves really put me on the map. For that, I’m completely grateful.”

The Wolves won only 66 games the first three seasons — the first at the Metrodome and the next two at Target Center — but for Campbell there were still plenty of fond memories. On multiple occasions during our conversation, he lauded the work of Bill Musselman, the coach for Campbell’s first two seasons in Minnesota.

“We were pretty much designing our own paths. It was a great feeling. We were new and exciting, and we were bringing back professional basketball to the Twin Cities,” Campbell said. “We set attendance records, and we had some very good games. And we had a coach who believed in us and supported us. And we would run through walls for him. Teams couldn’t rest on their laurels because we would beat them.”

The current Wolves have pieces in place to be successful — “a healthy, robust roster,” Campbell said — but this is a critical juncture.

“If they make the right choices with Kevin [Love], they can be the right kind of team,” he said. “And if not they might be going back to the days of old.”


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which is your favorite 'return' by a Minnesota athlete?

Weekly Question