2014 NBA Free Agency: Interview with Veteran Ryan Gomes
Free agent Ryan Gomes talks with HoopsScoop.com about his experience playing with stars like Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce, how he’s prepared for the offseason and much more. So far the veteran has played 8 years in the league and hopes to return to the NBA via free agency by next season.
HoopsScoop.com: Who do you think will go No. 1 in the NBA Draft?
Ryan Gomes: I was thinking it was going to be the big fella from Kansas (Joel Embiid), but since he recently got screws in his foot I don’t think he can go that high. I think you really got to look at the roster of each team. I don’t think Deng’s returning for the Cavs, so I think the idea of getting a wing player like Jabari Parker works. They’ve got an established guard in Kryie, Thompson and Waiters is a good guard, but I think they need a 3 man in there that can provide scoring for them since Deng will be gone.
HoopsScoop.com: So you’ve been around the league for a while playing for the Celtics, Wolves, Clippers and Thunder. Which team did you enjoy playing for the most and why?
Ryan Gomes: The Celtics were the first team that drafted me and gave me an opportunity to go out there and play. I was close to home, I was really excited to play with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett so that was a good team to play with. I also was excited to play with the Thunder as well, and the Clippers. But with each team playing time was different. With the Celtics I played a lot. When I went to Minnesota I played a lot too but we weren’t winning. So I go to the Clippers and you know the first year we really didn’t win that much and then the second year I really didn’t play that much but we were winning so that was a different experience, but of course I was still happy. All in all I enjoyed playing with all of those teams but I really liked my time with the Celtics the most.
HoopsScoop.com: You’ve played with big time players like Paul Pierce, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. How was your experience playing with them?
Ryan Gomes: I learned a lot from Paul Pierce my rookie year. When I started playing with Kevin Love he was a young rookie, he really wasn’t playing that much but by the third year he was playing a lot. You look at his progression every year and how he learned to stretch the floor as his career went on. He was always a great rebounder and passer even when he was a rookie. A now he’s got quicker, stronger at the same time and becoming an All-Star. And so is Blake Griffin, at first he relied on his athletic ability but now his game has molded to a new level. Chris Paul was great to play with, he’s clearly one of the greatest point guards in the NBA. Then you go to Kevin Durant who’s just been a bonafide scorer for 6 years, now an MVP and Russell Westbrook who is a lightning bolt and no one wants to get in front of him when he’s coming. I’m just fortunate enough to play with a lot of great players in this league.
HoopsScoop.com: Who was the toughest guy to go up against in practice?
Ryan Gomes: Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant. They’re both on the top of that list. Kevin Love and Blake Griffin, those guys can push plays and draw fouls. I know when I was playing against those two they’re strength was to play strong against me, so when they got to the basket I knew immediately I’d have to wrap them up. But some of the trickery with Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant, they really kept me off balance, with not knowing when to jump, when to stay on the ground, pump fakes and all that type of stuff. So those two were the toughest in practice.
HoopsScoop.com: How have things been so far this offseason? Have you received any interest from NBA teams or overseas leagues?
Ryan Gomes: Nothing yet. I’ve been talking to my agent and I know this time right now most teams are focusing on the draft and the top free agents like LeBron and Carmelo. So those type of players are going to get the first look. Now me coming from Oklahoma City, I really haven’t played as much over the last 2 years of my career in the NBA so I’m going to be one of those fill-in guys later on. I know for now its been going to be kind of quiet for me, so I’m just going to sit back and wait, and continue to work on my game and be ready to go in and work out with a team. But if that doesn’t work out I’ll go overseas.
HoopsScoop.com: What do you feel you provide for a team that takes you?
Ryan Gomes: I think I’m a solid defensive player. I can cover and play the three and the four and really stretch the floor well. I think with the way the game is being played it is really becoming four around 1. You know? I think there’s not a lot of true centers in the NBA right now and most teams are playing kind of small ball. I think I can be one of those guys that can fill in and rebound the ball, make good decisions and I don’t get out of my realm as who I am as a player. So whatever spark they need I feel like I can provide.
HoopsScoop.com: A few years ago you partnered up with Hoops for Heart Health. What really influenced you to start working with them?
Ryan Gomes: The main motivation was because a former player who played on my AAU team named Stanley Myers, had passed away from sudden cardiac arrest and the only thing that can help save that person at that given time is an automatic external defibrillator or A.E.D. So we started a foundation in his memory back in 2005 and we’ve been running it ever since. We actually just had our 8th annual golf tournament to help raise awareness and money to help put defibrillators in recreation centers, high schools, elementary schools, business schools, colleges. At this point we’ve donated close to 100 defibrillators across this country. So I’m really proud of it and this is really what led me to starting this foundation. And these have really helped save lives. 2 years ago Danny Berger who went to Utah State, was at practice and went into sudden cardiac arrest. Luckily his trainer and staff were able to revive him with one of the defibrillators we donated. So it just goes to show these things save lives and they do really work.
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