Ryan Gomes’ Rookie Diary - February 14, 2006
Hello again everyone. I know it's been a long time (more than two months) since I last checked in with you all, but I really didn't have much to say for a while. But since the trade and some injuries to our guys, I've got a lot to update you on.
I guess I should start with the trade - I know it's business and part of the NBA, but this was the first time I've ever gone through something like this. I know from a business standpoint it was done to better the team and help improve us for the future, and hopefully it will help Ricky, Mark, Marcus and Justin, too. I really hope the situation works out for the best for everyone involved - and for both teams.
But it was hard for me since I was probably the closest to Ricky. Our fiancees were close - they bonded from the first time they met, and we spent time at his house just hanging out and talking. So when he called me to tell me, I just didn't want to believe it. I got along really well with Mark, too. He and I had dinner on the road all the time- he used to take me out to eat a lot when we traveled. And Marcus and I knew each other from before the Celtics, and Justin and I knew each other from workouts during my junior season when I considered leaving college early to enter the draft. We have a lot in common - both second round picks who were fighting for minutes, just going through the same situation. I hope this is a better situation for him - I have already seen that he is playing more minutes and getting better opportunities by just checking out the box scores. I try to check out what those guys are doing whenever I can - looking at the box scores on the road when we get them post-game.
Playing the Timberwolves a few days later was strange, especially seeing those guys in different uniforms. But for me, I just treated it like it was a practice, I mean after all, I used to go up against them everyday when we scrimmaged anyway. It was probably a lot stranger for someone like Paul, who always had Ricky and Mark on his team. But they really came out with a lot of energy and firepower… it was their first home game after the trade, and they wanted to show something to the fans and to us (their former teammates). Those four guys made the difference in that game - I mean Kevin Garnett played well but he didn't have a spectacular game. Our former guys were the difference.
As I said, going through the whole trade situation was new to me. Wally and Olowokandi were in our locker room the next day, which seemed kind of strange and sudden. But they are veterans, and probably didn't need much time to pick up our plays and come in and contribute right away. Wally is such a talented player and scorer that he really takes some pressure off Paul, which is good. Defenders treat him the same way they do Paul, which opens up a lot of options for us. Olowokandi is a great defensive player, and adds another "big" to our rotation.
Before the trade, our locker room was a lot more "open" - Ricky and Justin were always very energetic and loved to joke around, with Paul joining in. It's a little more quiet and reserved now, but Paul still loves to lead the jokes and provides great leadership and energy. We have great chemistry in our locker room, and Wally and Olowokandi are fitting in great. They are just trying to be themselves, which is great. You can never replace the guys that you lose, but the new guys are going to be just fine with this team.
As for my situation, I have never wanted to have an opportunity to succeed at someone else's expense, but when Al and Perk went down with their injuries, it did open up a door for me to get some playing time. It's a great opportunity, and I plan on making the most of it until they come back. I have always been a team player, and we all have the same goal on this team - to win games and make the playoffs. When it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter who started the most games, it's whether or not the team is successful as a whole, and that is the ultimate goal of everyone in our locker room. When Al and Perk return from their injuries, I will be happy to get on the court with them. When I was sitting on the bench, I just wanted to get on the court and play anyway that I could.
During the stretch when I was on the inactive list, or on the bench and only seeing time at the end of games, I was mentally down. I know that everyone has to wait his turn, but it did take a toll on me. I started to wonder if I did something wrong, but I knew deep down it was just a numbers game and that there were other guys ahead of me. My teammates and the coaches kept encouraging me to work hard, put in the extra practice and to keep coming in here everyday as if I had played 30-40 minutes the night before, so that I'd be ready when my number was called.
Now that I am playing, the local support has been incredible. I think I have an advantage, having played collegiate ball right down the road. I noticed the guys from Providence in the endzone by our bench at Sunday's game vs. Orlando who were wearing my name spelled out on their shirts - and even braved the blizzard to be there and support me! Unfortunately my family hasn't been able to make it to a game that I have started yet, but they are hoping to be there tomorrow night when we play Cleveland. Actually, my younger brother is really upset because he hasn't been here while I've started, so he is going to come up and see the game and stay overnight with me, so I am looking forward to that.
After tomorrow night we are off for a few days for the All-Star break. I'd like to congratulate DWest for making the Rookie/Sophomore game - I thought he deserved to make it out-right, but the fact that he replaced Jameer Nelson as the first choice shows how close he really was to making it. It's a great accomplishment for him, and one that he really has earned. And of course, congrats to Paul for making his fifth consecutive All-Star game, which is an amazing accomplishment. I plan to watch the entire All-Star weekend, and hope that one day I'll be there - maybe next year I'll be representing the Celtics in the Sophomore Game. I believe that any award you get from the league - All-Star recognition, the Sixth Man Award, or whatever it is - is important and good recognition for your accomplishments.
During the break I am going to have two root canals done on Thursday, and then I am going to go home and visit some family. Although Boston is close to my hometown in Connecticut, I really don't have time to visit during the season. So I plan to see my family, and visit my high school and go see a high school basketball game.
That's about all that is going on here… before I sign off I want to give a shout out to the Providence Basketball team for winning three games in a row and making a push to get into the Big East Tournament. Good luck guys, and I'll be down to a game soon.
That's it for me for now. I have to go, but I'll talk to you all when we get back from our West Coast road trip.