Today we are going to look at Ryan Gomes. He showed in Summer League that last season was no fluke and has gotten even better since then.
Ryan Gomes was born in Waterbury, Connecticut and spent his entire childhood living in the Bucks Hill Apartment Complex there. Ryan grew up with his mother. His father, John Brooks, has always been a part of Ryan's life, but it was his mother who raised this very grounded young man.
Like many single parents, Ryan's mother, Teresa Gomes, worked hard to help provide for her family. She worked two jobs, six days a week as a nurses aid. On some days, Ryan would not even see his mother as she would get home from her second job after he had left for school. Although his mother was often at work, Ryan was always cared for by his grandmother and aunts who took turns looking after him. It was this love and support from his family that Ryan credits for much of his success in life.
When Ryan was young, he did not play any organized sports. He always enjoyed playing basketball on the playgrounds, but never received any formal instruction until high school. As a freshman at Wilby High School in Waterbury, Gomes played on his first organized basketball team. His high school coach, Reggie O'Brien, was one of the first to realize that Ryan had some special talents on the basketball court. O'Brien taught Ryan many of the basic skills that led to his strong inside play. He put those skills to good use in his first varsity season as he led Wilby to the 1998 state tournament.
Ryan began playing AAU basketball in the summer of 1998. Ryan joined Head Coach Wayne Simone's Connecticut Select squad and benefitted from the situation. Simone was more than just a coach for Ryan, he was a mentor who taught Ryan how be motivated and pushed him to strive for a scholarship at the Division I level.
Following Ryan's senior season, he received All-City, All-League and First Team All-State honors, as well as the Billy Finn Award, which he earned as the top player in Waterbury. Ryan was ready to go on to the next level and play college ball but unfortunately, he did not have the required SAT scores and would not be able to attend college in the September of 2000. At that point most of the schools that were recruiting Ryan backed off. However, Providence, Creighton and Dayton were still interested. Ryan stayed in Waterbury and worked hard to try and achieve the necessary SAT score. He took several courses in the fall of 2000 but his SAT scores were still not high enough. Ryan realized that he needed more help and so he enrolled in Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Massachusetts in January of 2001. Notre Dame provided the instruction Ryan needed as he was able improve his SAT score and become eligible to play in the NCAA.
Ryan chose Providence from the three teams who were offering scholarships because they had shown the most interest and because he wanted to stay close to home. He had a 6 month old brother at home and he wanted to be part of his life and stay close.
His college career started off slowly as he suffered a sore back in the preseason and he struggled to fit into the crowded roster. He didn't play in the first few games. Finally, in the 5th game of the season, the Friars fell way behind in a game and the coach inserted Gomes into the line-up. He responded by scoring 15 points and grabbing eight rebounds in 28 minutes. He was very impressive from the field, hitting six of his eight shots. After that game, Ryan was never on the bench for the start of a Friar game. He played 4 very successful years at Providence and entered the NBA draft in 2005.
NBAdraft.net gives Ryan's strengths as: "One of the hardest workers in all of college basketball ... His development of a three point shot during the offseason of his junior year is just one example... Gomes is a bruiser, very physical and tough player ... He has made the transition from post player to perimeter guy but has retained excellent post skills ... Few at the college level can match his size and footwork. Gomes is well adept at positioning himself for rebounds and on the blocks. Gomes has added solid range and permimeter skills to his game … He is an excellent free throw shooter and has made a living at the line .... Gomes has been one of the most consistent performers on the collegiate level for the past 2 years ..."
He worked out for several teams before the 2005 draft. Danny had Gomes pegged as the player that he wanted at #18, but he couldn't pass up Gerald Green when he fell into their laps. But luck was with the Celtics and they got what may be the steal of the draft when Gomes fell to them with the 50th pick.
His playing time and statistical impact were limited early in the season, as they were early in his college career. However, after the mid-season trade that was supposed to free up playing time for Al and Perk, both went down with injuries and Gomes was inserted into the starting line up. He made the best of the opportunity and led all rookies in double doubles, in spite of getting a late start. Gomes was named to NBA All-Rookie Second Team for the 2005-2006 season.
In spite of being somewhat undersized for a power forward, Gomes positions himself well on the court to rebound, and uses his hands well for easy put-back buckets and lay-ups. Very similar to the way Larry Bird rebounded, he can estimate where a rebound is going to come off the rim and positions himself there. Celtics legend and TV color commentator, Tommy Heinsohn describes Gomes as the best offensive rebounder on the Celtics' roster.
He recently asked to play on the Celtics' Summer League team. When asked why he wanted to play in the SL, even though he didn't need to, he had this to say, "To get better. Last year, people were excited when I played a lot at the end of the season. But in the beginning, I missed an awful lot also, not practices, but games and minutes. And at this stage, practices are shorter and lighter, so I wanted to come back [to the summer league], get in good shape and try to be ready for the whole season this year instead of coming on late. I also wanted to polish up on some things in my game, my shooting, my ball-handling. Playing you can always learn something." He showed even more improvement in the summer league, hitting the outside shot and showing his knack for rebounding.
Ryan Gomes is a class act both on the court and off of it. He is a very hard worker and constantly works on improving his game. He is always doing things in the community to help others. On the court, he makes the right decisions and makes very few mistakes. He has a high basketball IQ and works to make everyone around him on the court better. In spite of his size, he has an uncanny knack for getting rebounds, especially on the offensive end. Ryan Gomes is a proven winner and will only get better the more he plays. Most Celtics fans hope he will be around Boston for a long, long time.
FL, you ought to get a job working for the Herald or Globe. This was a stellar piece you put together. Seems like you were there interviewing Gomes.
Gomes is a very productive player. I have been viewing him as one of the best garbage players we've had on the team in a long time. He can put up good stats without ever having a play called for him.
He's pretty good at taking his man off the dribble, and he either gets to the line, or gets a good look at the basket.
Ironically, even though I see Gomes as a player who can have a big role on the team, either as a productive player off the bench or as a starter, if a tempting trade offer comes along and he needs to be included in the deal, I would do it. Say its for a big man who can help us right off the bat--I think we'd have to make the deal. But I think Gomes is one of the top players we have and if its possible to keep him while adding a veteran big man, I'm all for it.
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Yeah, I'm not sure exactly what Ainge is trying to do with all these roster fillers. I'm not implying that Allan Ray and Leon Powe are just roster fillers for preseason, because they showed they are more than just that. But with Jefferson and Gomes developing, our PF slot seems to be taken care of. I'm interested in knowing if Ainge views Powe higher than Gomes.
If Gomes remains in Boston for his career, he will be a guy who proves to be a valuable member of the team, even if he's just a role player. He's a solid all around player.