Monday, April 11, 2016

Waterbury's Ryan Gomes showing he can still play

Waterbury native and former NBA player Ryan Gomes continues to work hard.
Gomes is 33 and no longer in the NBA, but he hasn't stopped thinking of getting back there.
Want proof?
Los Angeles D-Fenders NBADL website
Gomes, the former Wilby and Providence star, was named RidiculousUpside.com 2015-16 NBA D-League Impact Player in a story by Keith Schlosser posted on the website on April 6. Schlosser noted that Gomes still showed the skills that helped him play for parts of eight years in the NBA. 
Gomes has always had skills, and his numbers prove that point. In 31 games with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Gomes averaged 18.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.4 blocks. His shooting percentages were pretty darn good: 48.2 overall on his attempts, 37.2 from three-point range, and a rock-solid 85.6 from the free throw line. Gomes played 32 minutes per game at 33, showing he can still play amongst younger guys.
Yes, it was the NBADL, but still, someone in the NBA should give Gomes a shot!
In his NBA career, Gomes' percentage split is 44.5/34.9/79.9. That's not bad at all. 
As a former NBA player, Gomes could have been selfish in his drive to get back to the big league. He wasn't.
How about this from Schlosser's story?

"What's more, he proved to be an unselfish player over the course of the campaign, dishing out the rock around the perimeter from down on the low block, ensuring Los Angeles kept opposing defenses on their toes with contributors around the perimeter."

A lot of guys would say "give me the damn ball, I'm going to the basket every time." Not Gomes. He's only been that guy when asked to be that guy, whether it was at Wilby or Providence or in the NBA.
Gomes has been a hard worker who has proved doubters wrong. When he wasn't ready for college academically, he put in work at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., according to a Boston Globe story written by Shira Springer  after the Celtics drafted him in 2005. Then it was four years -- that's right, ALL four years -- at Providence, where he matured from someone not ready to work hard into an All-American.
I remember watching Gomes routinely beat up my team UConn, whether it was in person at Gampel Pavilion or the XL Center or on TV, and he always stuck out to me. Of course, he stuck out to me because I'm a NVL guy (Torrington High Class of 2002), but also because of his tenacity.
Former Providence coach Tim Welsh, who was at the helm at the time the Globe article was written, said this back in 2005:

"He became one of the hardest workers I've ever coached. He was one of the few guys we coached that made great strides during the season. He's always at his best when people doubt him a little bit. He's a guy that will always find a way."

Gomes would be a cheap but valuable asset in the NBA, an unselfish veteran who can provide quality minutes and help mentor younger players.
From Billy Finn (Top NVL senior) and All-State honors in high school to college All-American to professional, Gomes has proven he can play the game of basketball at every level. 
Here's hoping someone in the NBA gives Gomes a shot.

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