THE FRIDAY TICKET
Q and A with Timberwolves' guard Luke Ridnour
January 12, 2011By Wally Langfellow of Minnesota Score
by David Zingler-Minnesota Score Magazine
Athletes age quickly, just ask Luke Ridnour. The Timberwolves point guard turns 30 next month and is already the elder statesman of the squad. With an average age of 24.22, the Wolves are the youngest and least experienced team in the NBA. No other player on the current roster will be older than 25 at season’s end.
Born in Idaho, Ridnour grew up in Blaine, WA and starred at the University of Oregon before the Seattle Supersonics selected him 14th overall in the 2003 Draft. After five years with the Sonics (their last five in Seattle), the 6-2 guard was dealt to Milwaukee in 2008 and spent two seasons with the Bucks before signing a 4-year, $16 million free agent contract with the Wolves last July.
So far Ridnour’s delivered the solid play the team expected, averaging 11.1 points and 5.6 assists in 29.5 minutes per game while shooting better than 43% behind the 3-point arc. I caught up with the 8-year veteran following Monday’s practice.
DZ: You’ve been here through training camp and are a couple of months into the season, how’s it going for you?
RIDNOUR: It’s good. Unfortunately we haven’t won the amount of games we’d have liked to, but I think this young team is getting better and better.
DZ: Going back to this summer when you were a free agent, what attracted you to this team, why did you want to come here?
RIDNOUR: Free agency is kind of a weird situation. I had an opportunity to come in here and help this young team get better and better and get a chance to play so it ended up being where I felt like the Lord wanted me to go.
DZ: Being a point guard, your job is to run the offense. How long does it take you to get adjusted to your new teammates and their games?
RIDNOUR: I think everyone is still adjusting. We’ve got a lot of young guys who aren’t used to the NBA game and they are learning the game. It takes awhile for everyone to get used to each other - running a new offense is always something that takes awhile to get used to.
DZ: The big story for this team this year would be Kevin Love and Michael Beasley stepping up their games. What’s surprised you about those guys?
RIDNOUR: Kevin just keeps working. The way he can rebound, he can have a quiet 20 (point) and 15 (rebound) game - you don’t even realize it - he just keeps going. Mike is so talent offensively, he can really play.
DZ: You turn 30 next month, on this team that makes you the old guy. Is that a new role for you?
RIDNOUR: Yeah, it is. It’s kinda funny to be in that situation, it seems like I was just a rookie a couple of years ago. It goes by fast, that’s what I keep telling these guys - it keeps going, it goes by quick.
DZ: I know you weren’t here last year, but last year the team really wasn’t competitive and (this year) you guys have taken the step up to being competitive. What do you need to do to take the next step and win some of these games?
RIDNOUR: We need to defensively get better and close out games. We’ve got to learn how to kind of close out those games and get wins.
DZ: You grew up in the Seattle area - northwest Washington anyway - did you grow up a Sonics fan?
RIDNOUR: You know, not so much. I was a couple of hours away from Seattle, I was actually closer to the Vancouver Grizzlies, so I used to watch them. I was just a basketball fan.
DZ: The Grizzlies moved and then the Sonics moved, what was it like those last few games (in Seattle) and how that all unfolded?
RIDNOUR: It was tough just because they had been there so long and that state is such a big basketball state - the Northwest is - and to not have (a team) is so unfortunate.
DZ: One last thing, you played with Kevin Durant his rookie year, has he surprised you at all? Is there anything you can tell us about him that maybe we don’t know?
RIDNOUR: You could tell he was going to be good. He’s a relentless worker, he was always getting shots after practice and always working. You could tell he was going to be a great player.
See more of David Zingler's interviews with Timberwolves players: