off the court, Nate." Those five words spoken by Bucks assistant
coach Scott Williams sum up why Nate Wolters is in the NBA in the
first place and has been a pleasant surprise in his rookie season. The
squad had just completed a practice and was getting ready to fly to
Philadelphia in a couple of hours. While the rest of his teammates
were cleaning up to head for the airport, Wolters, as always, was the
last player still out on the hardwood, working on his shot.
Wolters, a high
school star in his native St. Cloud, Minn., was not heavily recruited
by college programs and signed at then-unheralded South Dakota State.
But Wolters led the Jackrabbits to two consecutive NCAA tournament
appearances and was drafted in the second round by Washington last
June, then traded twice on draft day, to Philadelphia and ultimately
Milwaukee. At every level of the game, Wolters has had to prove he
MC: Did you ever
think youíd be in the starting lineup for an NBA team?
NW: No way. My
goal was just to make the NBA. We had a lot of injuries (point guards
Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour were sidelined early in the season)
that have allowed me to get a lot of opportunities. I think it will
help me down the road.
MC: Whatís the
biggest difference between college and pro ball?
NW: Just the
speed and athleticism. Iím still adjusting to it ó the gameís
going pretty fast. Plus the overall size. (Knicks center) Tyson
Chandler blocked my shot in the first game a couple of times. You have
7-footers here instead of 6-7, 6-8 guys.
MC: Are you the
definitive "gym rat?"
definitely. I think it kind of helped me to get to this point. Iím
not the most athletic guy. I wasnít really recruited much in high
school or college and nothingís been really handed to me.