MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ The memories of his last trip to the Twin Cities returned quickly for Corey Brewer, and the Florida swingman smiled wide when he was asked about the Gators' appearance here during the NCAA tournament in 2006.
``I like Minneapolis,'' Brewer said Friday, after a predraft workout with the Minnesota Timberwolves. ``I haven't lost here yet. It's a nice city, but it gets cold though. It was cold here last time, but it feels really good now.''
In a way, Minneapolis could be considered the birth city of the Gator craze. People were still trying to figure out if Brewer and the rest of his sophomore buddies were for real after their first two victories over South Alabama and Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the 2006 NCAA tournament.
By the time the Gators left for the Final Four in Indianapolis, there was no doubt. The youngsters from Gainesville were a revelation when they waltzed into the Metrodome that weekend and flourished under all the attention. Brewer, Joakim Noah and Co. edged Georgetown in the Sweet Sixteen, then cruised past future Timberwolves guard Randy Foye and Villanova in the regional final en route to Florida's first national title in men's hoops.
They won a second title this season in their encore performance, and now Brewer, Noah and Al Horford all figure to be lottery picks in the June 28 draft.
The Timberwolves own the seventh selection in the first round, and many mock drafts have Brewer, a skinny, 6-foot-9 defensive wizard who was named the most outstanding player of the Final Four this year, falling to them.
``I've heard that a lot,'' Brewer said. ``You never know. I wouldn't mind being up here with KG and Foye and those guys. But we won't know until June 28.''
He would fit in well here playing for a defensive-minded coach in Randy Wittman who openly lamented his team's lack of intensity and focus on that end during a dismal season this year.
There was plenty of intensity in Brewer's workout on Friday, where he practiced against prospects Al Thornton of Florida State, Julian Wright of Kansas and Thaddeus Young of Georgia Tech.
Foye was one of several current Timberwolves who attended the workout, and had no trouble identifying the one guy who stood out.
``No brainer. The kid, Thornton, from Florida State,'' said Foye, who was essentially handed the starting point guard spot on Thursday when the team traded veteran Mike James to Houston for Juwan Howard. ``He's a beast. He plays really hard, and he's aggressive.''
The 6-foot-8 forward led the ACC in scoring as a senior, can shoot it from outside, and is a load on the low block when matched up against players his size. He excelled in a two-on-two competition on Friday, showcasing athleticism in the low post and a soft touch on his turnaround jump shot.
``It's kind of an up-tempo team,'' Thornton said of the Wolves. ``They're going to get out and run when they can, and also they run a good offense _ a motion-based offense where everybody's kind of moving, trying to get the ball to the big fella (Garnett) _ and I think I'd fit in well.''
Brewer can see himself here as well. He said he would love to play with Kevin Garnett and Foye, whom Brewer dubbed ``a great player.'' He would know. The Gators lost to Foye's Wildcats in the 2005 tournament before getting revenge the following season.
``He won one, I won one, but I won the national championship,'' Brewer said, again with a smile. ``That's a nice tie-breaker.''