Reppin’ the NW
Name: Luke Ridnour
Born: Feb. 13, 1981
Birthplace: Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho
College: University of Oregon
NBA Teams: Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves
Position: Point Guard
Height: 6’2” Weight: 175lbs
Luke Jackson, one of the team’s most accomplished players in team history, would have a field day on the new gym floor. Stan Love, father of NBA superstar Kevin Love, would assert himself as one of the best big men in today’s Pac-12.
But when it comes to this native Oregonian’s best memories from McArthur Court, few hit home like Luke Ridnour.
Ridnour has been a Northwest favorite since his days at Blaine High School in Blaine, Wash. He was named a McDonald’s high school All-American in his senior year and he was a two-time state title winner.
The 6’2” point guard spurned the state of Washington for the Oregon program that coveted him. He became a star floor general for the Ducks, and it didn’t take long for fans to appreciate what he brought to the table.
During his sophomore campaign (2001-02), the youngster scored 15.5 points per game while recording five assists along the way. He shot 46.8 percent from the field, but the most noteworthy statistic was his 44.1-percent mark from behind the arc.
As a junior, Ridnour’s percentages began to drop, but he made up for it in other areas. Despite seeing his field-goal percentage dip to 43.2 percent—his three-point percentage only reached 38.2 percent—he boosted his scoring to 19.7 points per contest. He also increased his assists to 6.6 per game, while collecting 1.9 steals in the process.
Simply put, Ridnour was the complete package at the point guard position. But while his numbers were impressive and his composure was inspiring, it was his style of play—and floppy hair style—that really hit home with the crowd.
In 2003, as a 14-year-old kid, I attended my first game at Mac Court. I entered the arena as a casual admirer, and I left as an obsessed fanatic, largely because of the performance Ridnour put on display. A stat line of 21 points and eight assists was enough to make anybody a supporter, but the fast-paced, energetic style with which he played created a fan for life.
Needless to say, I was hooked, and it was Ridnour who was to blame.
During his time at Oregon, the floor general found more than just individual success. He went on to be named the Pac-10 Player of the Year as a junior, but it was the Elite 8 appearance in 2002 that helped cement his legacy. He and teammate Luke Jackson led the way, and it took the Kansas Jayhawks to derail the team at that stage in the tournament.
Following Ridnour’s career at Oregon, he would make the move back up to Washington to join the Seattle Supersonics. He was selected 14th overall in the 2003 NBA draft, and while he didn’t play much as a rookie, he eventually became the starter during the 2004-05 season—a year in which the team boosted its record from 37-45 the season before to 52-30 (third place out West).
Following five seasons with the Sonics, Ridnour began to make his appearance around the association. He was involved in a three-team trade in 2008 that sent him to the Milwaukee Bucks, and then he switched jerseys once again when he signed a new deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
During his time with the Wolves, Ridnour re-established himself as an NBA starter. He started all but five games that he played in, posting averages of 11.8 points and 4.7 assists.
Flash forward to today, and Ridnour is once again a member of the Bucks. He was traded during the 2013 offseason in a deal that surrounded Kevin Martin joining the Timberwolves.
But while Ridnour is a ways away from the Pacific Northwest, it will be a long time before he’s forgotten in this area. The guard has been rumored in trades with the Portland Trail Blazers as recently as March 2012, and his legacy with the Ducks will be a memory in any true fan’s mind.
The Great Northwest has a product to be proud of in Ridnour, and it can’t be said enough that this Oregon fan won’t soon forget how he became a Duck for life.