Future Watch: Jarrett Culver Rookie Basketball Cards, Timberwolves

Future Watch: Jarrett Culver Rookie Basketball Cards, TimberwolvesFuture Watch: Jarrett Culver Rookie Basketball Cards, TimberwolvesJarrett Culver was born in Lubbock, Texas in 1999. His father, Hiawatha Culver Jr., is a pastor at Rising Star Baptist Church and his mother is a director of a local Head Start. Growing up, Jarrett played football and soccer before turning his attention to the basketball court in middle school. Culver attended Coronado High School in Lubbock. As a junior, he averaged 20 points per game while leading his team to the 6A regional semifinals. That year, Jarrett was named Lone Star Varsity Player of the Year by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

In his senior season at Coronado High, Culver averaged 30 points per game. He also led the team in rebounds and assists. Mid-way through the season he re-aggravated a shoulder injury he suffered as a junior, but still helped lead Coronado to the playoffs and once again earned Lone Star Varsity Player of the Year. Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN all ranked Culver as a 3-star college recruit. He would elect to stay close to home and attend the University of Texas Tech in Lubbock. Culver had also received offers from Baylor, Texas and Illinois.

In his first season with the Red Raiders, Jarrett Culver played 26.4 minutes in 37 games. He averaged 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Early in the season, he earned Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Week honors after scoring 18 points with seven assists in a 103-69 win over Savannah State. Culver finished his freshman season at Texas Tech with 229 total points scored, breaking the Red Raiders freshman record set by Martin Zeno in 2005.Future Watch: Jarrett Culver Rookie Basketball Cards, Timberwolves

Heading into his sophomore season, Culver was named preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention. He was also one of 20 players to make the 2019 Jerry West Award watch list. At the 2018 Hall of Fame Classic, Culver scored 26 points and helped Texas Tech defeat Nebraska in the final. He would earn MVP honors for the tournament. On March 9th, 2019, Culver scored a career high 31 points in a win over Iowa State. After leading Texas Tech to a share of the Big 12 regular season title, Culver was named Big 12 Player of the Year at the end of conference play.

At the 2019 NCAA Tournament, Texas Tech was given the #3 seed in the West Regional bracket. In their first-round game against #14 Northern Kentucky, Culver scored 29 points with eight boards and seven assists. In the second round, Culver scored 16 points and grabbed ten rebounds to help the Red Raiders defeat #6 seed Buffalo. Culver would continue to impress scouts with a 22-point performance in Texas Tech’s historic upset of #2 Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen. The Red Raiders continued their historic run in the tournament with an Elite Eight upset over #1 seed Gonzaga. In that game, Culver led his team with 19 points to help Texas Tech reach the Final Four.

Culver would struggle in his team’s Final Four match-up against Michigan State. He scored 10 points on 3-of-12 shots from the floor. Texas Tech would still go on to win that game and advance to the Championship versus Virginia, the #1 seed in the South Regional bracket. Culver struggled again in the Championship game, scoring 15 points on 5-of-22 shots. Virginia would go on to win a thriller in overtime 85-77. After the season, Culver declared himself eligible for the 2019 NBA draft. He would finish his sophomore season with per-game averages of 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 steals.

As a freshman, Culver played more of a complimentary role on offense. This changed in his sophomore season when he was asked to take on more ballhandling duties. Culver rose to the challenge and greatly improved his draft stock. This growth led many evaluators to consider Culver as a top-10 pick. Scouts were impressed with Culver’s offensive growth as a sophomore and his efforts to help anchor one of the best defenses in the country. At the draft combine, the combo guard/wing measured 6’6.75” in shoes with a 6’9.5” wingspan. Many teams were impressed with Culver’s make-up off the court. His work ethic is off the charts, he grinds in practice, plays with a chip on his shoulder and comes from a very supportive family. The only question surrounding Culver heading into the draft was if his shooting form would need to change at the next level.

On draft night, Jarrett Culver was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 6th overall pick. Culver’s selection was made after the Suns had agreed to trade the sixth pick to Minnesota in exchange for Dario Saric and the 11th pick. Due to NBA rules, the Timberwolves could not announce the signing of Culver as their first-round pick until right before the start of Summer League. The team elected to hold him out of Summer League competition.

It was a very busy offseason for the Timberwolves. Team owner Glen Taylor hired Gersson Rosas from Houston as the team’s President of Basketball Operations. After a rough break-up with previous POBO Tom Thibodeau, the franchise needed a new direction. Rosas quickly began to make moves. He traded up to draft Culver, promoted interim head coach Ryan Saunders to the full-time job and helped rebuild the rest of Saunders’ staff to institute a new system. Over the summer Rosas and Saunders suggested Culver would play multiple roles for the team in 2019-20 including point guard.

It has been a roller coaster season for the Timberwolves. They started 10-8 and had their eyes on a seven or eight playoff seed in the western conference. They went on to lose their next 11 games and limped into 2020 with a 12-20 record. Injuries, inconsistency and players adjusting to new offensive and defensive systems stymied the team’s promising start. However, things are looking up and Jarrett Culver has been one of the most impressive players for the Timberwolves here at the beginning of January.

Through four games in January, Jarrett Culver has started in every game while averaging 30.4 minutes. Over that stretch he’s averaging 14.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals. In a 119-112 loss in Memphis on January 7th, Culver scored a career high 24 points. He’s shooting with a ton of confidence, rebounding aggressively and making smart plays on defense. During the game, Minnesota’s broadcast crew praised Culver’s competitiveness and desire to improve his game.

He’s showing a lot more swagger on the court. Check out this poster dunk on Robin Lopez:

Culver was issued a technical foul after the dunk for taunting Lopez. After the game, Ryan Saunders was asked about the technical foul and he answered with three words: “I love it!Future Watch: Jarrett Culver Rookie Basketball Cards, Timberwolves

The big knock on Culver’s game this year has been his free throw shooting. He’s currently shooting 43.8% from the charity stripe. In two years at Texas Tech, he shot 68.7% from the line. That number isn’t great, but it’s 24.9% higher than it is with the Timberwolves. His coaches think it’s the “yips” and something he can fix this season and moving forward.

The organization is behind him, his teammates are behind him, and now the fans are getting on board. Collectors on a national stage may have seen Culver’s dunk on Lopez and made a mental note to keep an eye on him. Hopefully they’ll see him make some plays in the 2020 Rising Stars Challenge on February 14th.

If you’re a Timberwolves fan, you should have a few Jarrett Culver rookie cards in your collection. His 2019-20 Silver Prizms can be found for around $20-40. At that price, there’s room for growth. All it takes is a few highlight dunks or clutch shots for more collectors to get on board. Count on seeing more from Culver this year.

Collectors looking for Jarrett Culver in his Texas Tech uniform will find them in Panini’s 2019 Collegiate Basketball programs including Contenders Draft Picks, Prizm Draft Picks and Flawless Collegiate. Find Culver in his Minnesota Timberwolves uniform across Panini’s entire catalog of 2019-20 NBA programs including Hoops, Prizm, Absolute and many more to come.

Russ Cohen spoke with Culver at the 2019 Panini NBA Showcase. Check out the interview below.

Future Watch: Jarrett Culver Rookie Basketball Cards, Timberwolves – Stats as of 1/8/2020

Per Game Table
Season Age Tm Lg Pos G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% 2P 2PA 2P% eFG% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2019-20 20 MIN NBA SG 35 22 23.5 3.5 9.3 .378 0.9 3.7 .254 2.6 5.6 .462 .429 0.9 2.1 .438 1.2 2.2 3.4 2.0 1.1 0.7 1.2 2.3 8.9
Career NBA 35 22 23.5 3.5 9.3 .378 0.9 3.7 .254 2.6 5.6 .462 .429 0.9 2.1 .438 1.2 2.2 3.4 2.0 1.1 0.7 1.2 2.3 8.9
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/8/2020.

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James Gale