Chris Richard Looking Ahead

While his more ballyhooed teammates Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer can spend their spare time counting their money, former Gator Chris Richard still has work to do. Richard, like Taurean Green was a second round pick and has some work to do to make the Minnesota Timberwolves' roster.

It appears Chris Richard will be battling Craig Smith who joined the Wolves last year form Boston College for a spot on the roster.

Yet talk with Richard at the Florida/Tennessee football game, he didn't sound at all like a guy nervous about making an NBA roster. Instead, the powerful big man from Lakeland talks about helping the Timberwolves reach the playoffs and earning regular playing time in the absence of Kevin Garnett. His chances of making the team make come down to how quickly he learns the nuances of playing in the low post under NBA rules.

LV: How is the transition to the NBA going?

CR: It's a lot different. The rules are a lot different. You can't play as physical as you could in college, and I didn't realize that. I thought you just played, but I found out when I got to summer league and I almost fouled out of every game. I'm not used to the defensive three second calls either do I got a few of those, too.

LV: How much tougher was the competition on the floor?

CR: The competition is always going to get better every level you go up, but after awhile and you get to play some you get used to it.

LV: Do you guys talk much about what it's going to be like facing each other in NBA games?

CR: Yeah, hopefully we'll play against each other a lot, and not only my Gator teammates, but guys from AAU and all that stuff. I think it will be a lot of fun because we'll just go out there and compete for bragging rights. It's more serious now and all that stuff and everybody wants to win.

LV: Minnesota is such a young team. Have you guys talked much about what your expectations are with one of the youngest teams in the league?

CR: Just win games and get to the playoffs. We want to win a championship ultimately, but we just have to take it one game at a time and try to go as far as we can in the playoffs. It's a little bit different because we are young and we don't have a lot of experience and leadership. Coaches are going out and trying to find someone to lead us, and hopefully our veterans will come in and try to teach us some things.

LV: How much does it help you that there aren't a lot of veterans there and you might have a chance to get in the rotation right away?

CR: I hope so. It can help and hurt at the same time, but I think it's a good thing. I have a better chance of playing because if Kevin Garnett was still there he'd be getting 40 minutes. Hopefully that'll open it up and maybe I'll be able to get some more minutes and it will work out for the best.

We'll see if Richard can make that happen and add his name to the growing list of former Gators cashing NBA paychecks.

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