Corey Brewer Q+A
Minnesota’s dynamic dunker checks in from England.
by Michael Romyn
The last time Corey Brewer was in London he was a wide-eyed rookie, fresh off winning two straight national championships with the Florida Gators. Now, visiting England for the second time, Brewer finds himself a stoic veteran, who is well-versed in a few of the game’s harsher realities.
In the three years since the Timberwolves first visited the UK as part of the NBA Europe Live tour in 2007, Brewer has experienced more losing than seems fair for any 24-year-old. During his brief tenure, the Wolves have chalked up just 61 wins in 246 games, including last year’s truly dismal 15 win season. It’s as if the basketball Gods were redressing the balance for Brewer’s collegiate success.
It’s not all bad, though. The 24-year-old is coming off a solid third season after an injury-struck sophomore campaign. He posted averages of 13 points and 1.4 steals and was included in the discussion for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
I talked to Brewer before practice at the Crystal Palace Sports Centre in south London, ahead of the Timberwolves’ preseason matchup with the Lakers at the O2 Arena on Monday night.
Corey Brewer: Yeah, a lot has changed. I’ve got lots of new teammates, a new coach, a new manager. You know, I’m one of the veterans on this team now. We’ve got a bunch of young guys on this team, very young, but they’re very talented.
SLAM: As a veteran, are you conscious of being a leader of this team?
CB: Of course. I always try to lead by example through my play, but I’m also trying to be a vocal leader too. I have to help the guys the best way I can, telling them what to do and what not to do on the court, particularly as we’ve got a bunch of new guys running this offense.
SLAM: How hard is it for guys to come in and learn the triangle offense?
CB: It’s pretty tough but I’ve got a year under my belt with Coach (Rambis) so I’m going to try to help out the guys the best I can. I’m not going to lie, last year it took me about half a year to learn the triangle, to finally get it down. But once you got it, it’s a good offense.
SLAM: How hard was last year for you?
CB: It was a tough year last year, really tough, but you have to look forward. I feel like this year will be a lot better. I feel like we’ve got some good young talent and we can improve on last year’s record.
SLAM: How do you stay focused through all the losing?
CB: You’ve got to motivate yourself every day. But we want to point that behind us. This is a new year and we’re starting all over again with no wins and no losses. I’m going to go out there as hard as I can go, the team is going to go as hard as it can go, and we’ll see some wins.
SLAM: What did you make of the Al Jefferson trade this summer?
CB: It’s not a bad move. Trust me, we’re going to miss Al. He was great for us, but now we’ve got a bunch of young guys and we have to pick up the slack. Hopefully the guys will step up.
SLAM: Is Michael Beasley the go-to-guy on this team now?
CB: We’re going to have a lot of go-to-guys. You can’t just point at one guy right now, but Michael is really going to help us.
SLAM: Is there anything in particular you worked on during the summer?
CB: Nothing in in particular. I’ve been working on a lot of ball handling and I’m still trying to become a consistent shooter. I’ve just to keep working hard every day.
SLAM: You caught Derek Fisher with a pretty filthy dunk last year. Will you remind him of it at the game on Monday?
CB: Nah, I’m not going to say anything to DFish. He’s a great guy. He was probably kidded about it enough last year. For us, this game’s all about going out there and playing. It’s preseason but we’ve got to take it seriously.
SLAM: Realistically, what are your expectations for this team next year?
CB: We’ve just got to get better, a lot better than last year. We’ve got to play together and get this thing done.