Timberwolves' analyst decision up in the air

Petersen isn't sure whether it's TV or radio

BOX:U.S. Bank/Minnesota Timberwolves Caravan

When: Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Where: Rochester Mayo High School McNish Gymnasium.

Who: Timberwolves players Troy Hudson and Mike Wilks, radio analyst Jim Petersen and mascot, Crunch.


Cost: Free.

Timberwolves merchandise will be on-sale at the demonstration, with proceeds benefitting the Y Mentors program at the YMCA. In addition, Crunch will visit the Rochester Area Family YMCA at 1:30 p.m.

By Paul Christian

TV or radio?

Radio or TV?

Talented as he is, Jim Petersen can't do both. When the Minnesota Timberwolves tip it off in a couple of months, Jim Petersen will be offering his analysis on either TV or radio.

Right now, nobody knows.


"They (Timberwolves) are going to let me know," the former Universit of Minnesota great said, "and hopefully pretty soon. I've done both, although I like the radio format better.

"At least in radio I'm going to be doing all the games whereas in TV, you don't do any exhibitions, and you're limited to around 70 regular-season games.

"Last year in the playoffs, three of the six games were on nationally, so the local announcers weren't able to do them. It's kind of like a bench player who finally becomes a starter and then is sent back to the bench."

Petersen, 41, will be in Rochester on Thursday as part of the U.S. Bank/Timberwolves Caravan, which will be from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Mayo High School.

Soon after, he will learn what's on tap -- broadcasting-wise -- for next year. The TV vacancy occurred when Mychal Thompson left the organization for the radio analyst job with the Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson, who had been with the Wolves for two years, is also serving as co-host of an afternoon sports radio talk show.

"Ultimately it's up to me," said Petersen. "There are pros and cons for each of them but if I'm switched to TV, there's a few guarantees I would like to get."

Petersen worked with Chad Hartman on the Wolves' Radio Network last year. "There's a certain comfort level working with Chad," said Petersen, "and besides that, we're good friends, too.

"And what's there not to like about the job? I keep telling everyone it's the best job possible; you get to watch the Wolves and KG (Kevin Garnett) every night. Every single night he's out there giving his best, and that only makes my job more meaningful."


Petersen first met Wolves coach Flip Saunders in junior high and vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale recruited him for the Gophers. He also played or is friends with coaches Jerry Sichting, Randy Wittman and Greg Ballard.

"I was coaching seventh grade basketball at Hopkins, and those guys had kids playing, and I would see them all the time at various tournaments or practices around the Twin Cities," Petersen said.

"Anyway, one day they were talking about the team needing a radio analyst and Flip said, "'how about Jim Petersen?'

"They called and I said sure, I would give it a shot.."

Peterson, who is getting married on July 26, gives credit to a pair of former coaches, Don Nelson and Bill Fitch.

"Don and Bill are two of the greatest coaches in NBA history," he said, "and I was lucky enough to have learned from the best. They're always talking about your pedigree in basketball. Some coaches pattern themselves after, say, Chuck Daly so he's a Chuck Daly guy. Or he's a Jim Valvano guy or a Bill Musselman guy.

Until the Wolves lost free-agent center Rasho Nesterovic, Petersen was excited about the team's chances next year.

"We'll see, though," he said, "but I can't wait. It promises to be one of the most exciting NBA seasons in memory with all the changes we've seen the past few weeks."


Petersen is also a big fan of the hands-on approach a summer caravan offers.

"I remember as a ninth grader when Mychal Thompson came to one of our camps," he said, "and I don't remember exactly what he said but the fact that he was there really stuck with me as a kid.''

Petersen has worked either TV or radio with the Wolves for five years. The former Minnesota Mr. Basketball (from Hopkins) is an eight-year NBA veteran and before that played for the University of Minnesota, when the Gophers won the 1982 Big Ten championship.

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