Introducing: Ryan Gomes
Ryan Gomes scored 12.1 ppg and grabbed 5.6 rpg in 73 games for Boston last year, and is generally acknowledged to be one of the classiest cats in the league. Overlooked in the 2005 NBA Draft (50th overall) much like Craig Smith in the 2006 Draft, Gomes will be a pleasant surprise to Minnesota fans who have yet to become familiar with his talents.
We pulled the Providence College graduate aside when he dropped into town preceding the scheduled press conference for Wednesday, August 1.
MT: What's up Ryan? First of all, welcome to Minnesota. What are you initial thoughts on being here.
Gomes: Thanks. This could be a blessing in disguise that I'm here. You've got to make the most of your new opportunities and different horizons for change, and ready for challenges. That's what life is about. There will be some obstacles, but I think the guys that we've brought here from Boston in addition to guys like Randy Foye, Ricky Davis, Craig Smith and Mark Blount give us a solid team. Boston gave up a lot of solid players to get a great player in Kevin Garnett, who has done wonders here. With the young core coming here to Minnesota, we've got to try and make a name for ourselves. We're all going to be young, but energetic young guys can win games. But our goal has to be not to look at why young teams have never won, but to ask why we can't be the first young team that did win and did succeed. That's my goal coming here. This will be my third year in the league, and I try to voice my opinion on a lot of things and this is where I stand with the organization. I'm going to try to make things better for myself and for the organization.
MT: Wow, are you trying to make the all interview team or something? That's good stuff without even a question.
Gomes: (Laughs) I think in 10 or 12 years I could be a reporter or something. I'm a big fan of the game; I've watched a lot of basketball. I've studied the game a lot, and I just tend to think I know what people's motives are and what they're trying to achieve throughout their career. I think that's one of the obvious motives behind this trade, is to try and win and compete for a title.
MT: We've seen you play a little and talked to our scouts about your game. Advance scout Brent Haskins told me that when you have an open jumper from 15, 17 or 19 feet, it's good ... we'll look forward to that. Yet your background is similar to our own Craig Smith's, another terrific college player who was perhaps overlooked in the draft.
Gomes: Sometimes, you don't know the value of some college players. (Craig and I) both went to college for four years, and today a lot more players are coming out earlier in school. We stayed and we competed against college competition, which made it an easier transition to the NBA. We learned the things that maybe some of the younger players don't know, because they missed out on those two or three years of college. I think we have a little bit of a chip on our shoulders, because you think that when you go to college for four years you'll be rewarded. We're blessed to be able to play professional basketball, to be able to show what we can do. It's not always where you start, it's where you finish.
MT: Fair enough. Talk to me about your boy Al Jefferson. He put up some big numbers last year, suggesting to people that he's the real deal.
Gomes: He is the real deal. He's really stepped up his game. He was a high school kid coming straight into the NBA, and as a big guy who plays down in the post he had to adjust a bit to the physicality of the league. But I think he has emerged and stepped up his game each and every year. He is going to be a big part of our team this year, and he was definitely a big part of the Celtics team along with Paul Pierce last year. With this trade, Kevin Garnett and Al Jefferson were the two big names, and a lot of us got thrown in the mix. But he's going to be an All-Star someday, and is going to be putting up a lot of double-doubles. He had monstrous numbers last year and won a lot of games for us. I think he's going to be one of the vocal leaders too, and one of the guys we turn to. But we all just have to fit in as individuals and come together as a team. We all want opportunities, we all want to be "the guy," but in the end, if we do well as a team we'll all get rewarded. We all have to pat each other on the back support each other, and the year will be smooth.
MT: You seem like a guy who knows how the process works, and now you have a system with a lot of young guys and a lot of talent. You have a coach who isn't going to say that just because you are playing Phoenix, you're not going to win this game. You still come out and play NBA teams every day.
Gomes: You've got to come out and compete. Ever since we started playing -- in middle school, in high school, in college -- it's all about winning. At the end of the day, you want to win the game. You want to come back and say, "We played hard and we won." It's about doing all of the little things that help your team win games, and all of us new guys want to do that. We want to make a name for ourselves, and the only way to do so is to win.
MT: Are you excited about the prospect of growing together with other young, talented players here in Minnesota?
Gomes: I'm very excited. I played against Craig and Randy in college, and watched Rashad in college. I know they can play. I think we all have the same goal in mind, as well. There's no need to talk about being young, because we know that. We just have to work harder than other teams who may have the superstars. We need each other each and every game. If you have more support than misunderstandings, we'll be fine.
MT: While doing it big for Providence in the Big East, you saw a lot of Craig Smith at B.C. and Randy Foye at Villanova. What can you say about your new teammates?
Gomes: Craig is very physical down in the post, and he's relentless on the offensive glass. He has a great in-between game; he can catch it in the paint, face up, jump hook or whatever. Randy is a slasher who can get to the rim when he wants, but also has a really nice jumper.
MT: All right Ryan, thanks for your time.
Gomes: No problem. See you later.