(AP) One thought sprang into Corey Brewer's mind after being chosen by Minnesota in the first round of Thursday night's NBA draft. "Hopefully KG's still there," Brewer said.
You're in luck, Corey, Kevin Garnett is still a member of the Timberwolves. And on Thursday night, Garnett got some much-needed defensive help.
The Timberwolves drafted the 6-foot-9 swingman with the seventh overall selection. He averaged 13.2 points as a junior last season, helping the Gators to their second straight NCAA championship.
Brewer was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four and the SEC co-defensive player of the year last season and will bring some defensive intensity on the perimeter to a Timberwolves team that had little of it last season.
"He was MVP of the Final Four," vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale said. "The guy won two championships. Those things don't grow on trees." When Brewer came to Minneapolis for a workout last week, he said he would like to play in Minnesota with Garnett and Randy Foye. Now it looks like he will get that chance.
Speculation - mostly through unsubstantiated internet reports - swirled around Garnett's status with the team, with the destination and teams involved changing nearly by the hour.
"I've got nothing to say on that," McHale said. "I actually got a charge out of most of that stuff. I'd say, 'Man, I tell you what, there's a lot more stuff going on in this league that I'm doing that I didn't know I was, that's for sure."'
In the end, McHale did not pull the trigger, and said he expects Garnett to return to Minnesota for a 13th season.
"Kevin's a member of this team right now," McHale said. "I assume he'll be a member of the team this fall."
That's great news for Brewer, who has been a big fan of Garnett since he was a kid growing up in Portland, Tenn.
"I had the KGs when he was with Nike, the first KGs that came out," said Brewer, referring to the shoes. "The blue and they were faded - that was my favorite shoe ever."
The Wolves took Brewer's teammate - forward Chris Richard - with the 41st pick in the second round. The 6-foot-9 Richard averaged 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds for the Gators and scored 16 points in their semifinal win over UCLA.
Garnett will have a little more help in his quest to return to the playoffs for the first time in four years, with Juwan Howard, who was acquired in a trade with Houston, and now the defensive wizard Brewer.
"I bring a lot of defensive intensity," said Brewer, who first played in front of McHale at the NCAA regionals in 2006, when the Gators defeated Georgetown and Villanova at the Metrodome en route to their first title. "And I feel like I know how to get the ball to the big men. I played with two of the best big men in the college game and you can see they both went in the top 10, so I feel like I can get KG the ball."
He was one of three Gators taken in the first nine picks, along with forward Al Horford (No. 3 to Atlanta) and forward/center Joakim Noah (No. 9 to Chicago).
"We made history. That's never been done," Brewer said proudly. "We're all about setting records and making history, being Gators."
Brewer has the size to guard small forwards, but is still quick enough to take on shooting guards, which will be an asset for Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman, who is looking for more consistent defense.
McHale said he coveted three players in the draft - Georgetown's Jeff Green, Brewer and Florida State forward Al Thornton.
Coming into the draft, there were doubts whether Brewer would be available when the Timberwolves came on the clock. But Boston took Green at No. 5 and Chinese forward Yi Jianlian went to Milwaukee at No. 6.
"I've liked him for two years," McHale said of Brewer. "He just gets up into you. He's a winner. He does a lot of little things."