Celtics forward Ryan Gomes stopped in Worcester Wednesday to work with campers at Al Pettway’s Worcester City Hoops camp at Worcester Tech.
Gomes, who has Central Mass. ties after spending a year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, talked with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Paul Jarvey about his excitement for the upcoming season. Here are some highlights:
“I think we can (reach the playoffs), but then again we said that last year,” Gomes said as he signed autographs and posed for pictures with the young campers at Worcester Technical High School. “That’s the goal. It’s been long enough for the Boston Celtics fans. With the addition of Ray Allen to go along with Paul Pierce and with the presence of Al Jefferson, we should be ready.
“We have a lot of good young players who played a lot of minutes last year — myself, Rajon Rondo, Alan Ray — now we’re ready. [Not making the playoffs] can’t be because we’re young.”
Gomes loves the trade for Allen, but admits he was stunned when he heard of the deal on draft day.
“I was a little surprised. No, I was a lot surprised,” he said. “Even though like Danny Ainge [the Celtics’ executive director of basketball operations] says, a rumor is a rumor until it comes to life, the rumors I was hearing were Shawn Marion or Kevin Garnett. It was weird because I thought it was going to be one of those other guys or we would take the pick. But to see him come — he’s a guy that still has a lot of game in him and [can] score a lot of points — it’s a good addition for us.”
He doesn’t know Allen well, but the pair used to joke about the Big East battles between Providence (Gomes’ alma mater) and UConn (Allen’s school) when the Celtics would play the Sonics. Gomes is looking forward to having Allen on his side.
“I think we’re going in a good direction,” Gomes said. “It’s going to take the pressure off Paul [Pierce] and Al Jefferson. It’s going to be difficult for teams to match up. You can’t double one and leave Ray open. If you guard everyone evenly, I think we still have an advantage. It’s a plus in my eyes to bring a player of that caliber on the team, and I think he’s going to be a great guy in the locker room, just from the things I’ve heard about.”
Gomes doesn’t know if Ainge will make more moves, but he doesn’t think he has to.
“The biggest need for us is to stay healthy,” Gomes said. “Last year, before guys got hurt we were headed in the right direction. This year, we have to stay healthy and commit to defense. With the addition of Ray Allen, we’re going to put up points, but we have to be able to defend as well. It has a lot to do with individual, but more team [defense] that needs to be done.”
Gomes also spoke on what his role might entail this season, saying: “I don’t know what position I’m going to be playing, whether it’s the 3 or the 4, so I’ve been working on a combination of both. I’ve been working on post moves, working on my jump shot. I just want to be able to play both positions. It’s a little bit of a challenge for me, because those are two totally different positions. It’s not like the 4 and the 5. I have to be aware of doing both and being able to guard someone at the 3 position. It’s going to be interesting, but as long as I’m on the court, it doesn’t matter what position.”
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