Thursday, July 23, 2009

Some Pro-Am Chatter

Went over to the Greater Hartford Pro-Am last night at the Sport & Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford. As always, some good run on display, particularly last night's nightcap between Ryan Gomes' Harte Nissan against All Axxess Entertainment.

Gomes was terrific, as one would expect from a double-figures NBA scorer. What most impressed me, however, was his competitiveness. He hit a terrific driving layup while being fouled with less than 30 seconds left, and went to the free throw line. After knocking down the foul shot to give his team a fairly insurmountable five-point lead, Gomes pumped his fist in joy.

Here's the top scorer in Providence College basketball history (and, of course, subject of one of Jim Calhoun's greatest rants), who averaged about 13 ppg. for the Minnesota Timberwolves last year, and he's pumped and excited about winning a summer league basketball game.

"Every time you step on the floor, you want to win," Gomes said. "It's about competitiveness. I missed a lot of free throws, too, so when I made one, I was excited."

Gomes, a Waterbury native, has been playing in this league for every year but one since about his sophomore year at PC. He loves coming back every summer.

"It's nice, and it's great competition, that's why I like to come back and play," said Gomes, who has homes in both Minnesota and Waterbury. "I play here and I play in a league in New York City, so every day I've got a game to play. I like coming back here so some of my family members who don't travel to Minnesota get to see me play. And I like playing against these guys ... it's good coming back and playing with those guys, give them motivation and work on my game, also. I get a little conditioning."

Gomes has another year on his contract with the T'wolves, after which the team could exercise an option, or he could become a free agent. Will he evere be a teammate of Ricky Rubio?

"I don't know. Our general manager went over there (Tuesday), I think, to try to work on a deal to see if he can come over this year. If not, the good thing about it is, we'll still have his rights when he does decide to come over. But the buyout is such a large number. Do you wait another year and it becomes lower?"

Can Rubio play?

"I think he can. He has a lot of flash and flair to his game. I think he can help us because he's a great passer. You can't teach that kind of stuff. Shooting, yeah, but when you can see the court, he'll help us out getting a lot of guys get shots. Especially guys like me, so I'd love to have him."

***Yes, I know, this is a UConn blog. There's one pro-am game tonight at 8:15 p.m. between the Springfield Slamm and the Mizner All-Stars. UConn's Ater Majok and Charles Okwandu play for the Slamm (though Okwandu has been slowed recently by an ankle injury).

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