SIOUX FALLS, SD -
One of the first things the Milwaukee Bucks saw when they walked through the Sanford Pentagon was the college jersey of Nate Wolters. They know he's the man of the hour, but he is only a rookie. He is just getting the hang of his new life in the NBA.
Basketball may be a team sport, but all eyes will be on one man in particular Thursday night at the Sanford Pentagon. That man will be rookie Nate Wolters.
"We saw his jersey coming in and I know he's close to where he played college basketball, so it'll be a fun night for him," Milwaukee Bucks point guard Luke Ridnour said.
While he may only be a rookie, Wolters is making a solid first impression.
"I call him 'Nate the Great.' I love his attitude. I love his personality. I love the way he comes to the gym and works every day," Milwaukee Bucks Assistant Coach Nick Van Exel said.
The Minnesota native and recent SDSU graduate will be the first to admit that he is still a small fish in a big pond.
"Just overall, the length and the flight of some of the guys is so much different than it is in college, so it's definitely a big adjustment. I'm still learning," Milwaukee Bucks point guard Nate Wolters said.
The longer days and harder practices were the first thing he noticed about the NBA life. Instead of studying like he did a year ago, he rests up and gets ready for the next day of work.
"All the veterans have been really good to me. Zaza Pachulia, Luke Ridnour," Wolters said.
Luke Ridnour is a player Wolters considers a mentor on and off the court.
"He's a good player, he's going to adjust well and have a long career, but just kind of show him the ins and outs of the league. It's such a long season, it's quite a bit different for him," Ridnour said.
In the moments leading up to the pre-season game, Nate Wolters is not holding anything back. He is being brutally honest about the things he needs to work on in his NBA game.
"Knowing when to make the right pass, because in this league, the pass has to be on the money and it has to be on time," Van Exel said.
"There's a ton of holes in my game right now. I'm at the NBA level, so I'm just going to work hard and try to get as best I can," Wolters said.
Coach Van Exel said after practice Thursday morning that Nate Wolters will start for the Bucks against the Timberwolves. Also, as a rookie and sitting behind two veterans, he says his time on the court will be an audition for the Bucks and the 29 other teams in the league.
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