Monday, February 2, 2009

Ex-PC Friar Ryan Gomes Living His Dream With T-Wolves

Check out this nice piece on one of my favorite PC Friars of all-time, Ryan Gomes, via ProJo Sports:

Some said that he was too small to play power forward in the NBA, but Ryan Gomes hasn't let that stop him. Others said that he wasn't quick enough to play small forward, but Gomes continues to thrive.Despite all of the perceived shortcomings by many NBA scouts, the former Providence College All-American who left the school as the Friars all-time leading scorer (2,138 points) is living his dream by playing in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves. "Life is good," said Gomes, who has about 20 friends and family members at today's game. "I'm out there with my family. This summer I signed a new deal with them so I have security so everything has been going well as of late so I'm happy."

Today is a homecoming of sorts for Gomes. The Celtics drafted him in the second round, 50th overall in the 2005 Draft, and he worked his way into the starting lineup late in his rookie season where he averaged 7.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game."They gave me my first opportunity at this level and the opportunity of what I was able to become," Gomes said of the Celtics. "I was able to play well here and another team liked me...They gave me my first opportunity and I will not forget that."

His effort did not go unnoticed his rookie season. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie second team. He scored at least 10 points in 21 of the 29 games he started in his rookie season, and in seven of those games he had a double-double.After averaging 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in his sophomore campaign, Gomes was traded to Minnesota, along with Al Jefferson, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green and Theo Ratliff for Kevin Garnett.The Timberwolves rewarded Gomes with a five-year contract last summer after he averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in his first season with Minnesota. Gomes and his wife Danielle had their first child, daughter Ryelle, this past summer as well.

"That meant a lot because in the beginning you want security in this league, that's the most important thing," Gomes said of his contract. "Guys want to do things well and play well but you do want to have some security in years so you don't always have to say, `This is your last year, you better make something happen,' so I'm glad that I was able to sign a long term deal and hopefully I'm there for the whole time."

While disappointed that he was not able to win a championship with the Celtics, Gomes said that he was happy for his former teammates."I was happy for the organization because I'm a realist and I knew when the trade happened, what they were going for," Gomes said. "They were getting older. They still had a few young guys but with an addition like Kevin Garnett, it just boosts the franchise and the organization. They went out there, handled business and they won. I was happy for them."

Gomes said that he hopes to one day win a championship, and that he sent a text message to coach Doc Rivers after the Celtics won to congratulate him. He also said that he hopes to become an All-Star one day. "The challenge is to go out every night and play well against the All-Stars and Hall of Fame type players," Gomes said. "I respect them and everything like that but I want to make a name for myself also so the challenge is to go out there and defend them and also not be a fraid and go out and take it to them. That's what I've been trying to do."

Like Boston, Gomes said that Providence will always have a special place in his heart."They are doing a lot of major things over there," Gomes said of Providence College's basketball program. "...They are playing well in the Big East right now...I'm keeping up with them and I'm happy with what's going on in the program."

What makes Gomes a special person is that he loves giving back to the community. He started his own charitable foundation - Hoops for Heart Health.Its goal is to get every high school and college in the country to have an AED (automated external defibrillators) on the premises.On Wednesday, Gomes's foundation will donate two AED's to the John Hope Settlement House in Providence, he said. "It's just about raising awareness for sudden cardiac arrest and putting AED's in facilities where people, if something tragic does happen, it's there for them. It's kind of like insurance for your car, you just never know what can happen and hopefully you never have to use it. I'm just trying to raise awareness because I'm in a position where as a professional athlete people hear the things I'm saying more clearly maybe than somewhere else."

Gomes wrote a letter to all Division I Men's and Women's basketball coaches and athletic trainers to try to get them to raise money to get AED's in every single one of their gyms.His Web site, www.hoopsforhearthealth.com, where people can donate money to help put AED's in schools, states that more than 325,000 Americans die each year from SCA. Thousands of them are children. SCA occurs without regard to age, race, or gender, and occurs during exercise more than 60% of the time.Victims of SCA can often be treated successfully with an AED.

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