Ryan Richards: Yeah, definitely it’s not. My brother came over from Jamaica when I was about 10 years old and I played football till then, but kind of switched to basketball little by little because of him. That’s how I started.
You’ve been playing over the last few years in Belgium and Switzerland. Were you on your own there?
RR: Yeah, yeah. I’ve lived on my own for like four years now. It was tough at beginning. But, you know, it helps you mature and I’m enjoying it now.
It was a difficult transition, I guess, especially at the beginning.
RR: Yes, it was. The first four months, before Christmas break, were really hard. After the first half of the season, it was fine.
Is it true that you had a pro offer to play for Real Madrid?
RR: Yes. I had an option to sign there in 2008, but decided that it wasn’t the best for me.
When was the first time that you realized you had a chance to play in the NBA? Was it at the Nike Hoop Summit?
RR: Yes, that was really the main moment. I wasn’t actually supposed to play there, but then I was competing with the guys and holding my own. That’s when I first thought, “Maybe I could play in the NBA in three or four years.
How important was your good performance at the Chicago combine in order to decide to stay in the draft this year?
RR: It was huge that I performed there, just as it was huge that I performed in every workout. I’m an unknown. People don’t know me. I see this as an opportunity to show what I can do and maybe getting picked in the lottery.
How ready do you think you are for the NBA game?
RR: I definitely think I’m ready. I’ve been playing in Europe four years. I’ve been honing my game, working out every day twice a day for the last four years. I think I’m ready. I definitely need to improve my strength and playing experience, but they are two things that you’re going to improve just with time and getting in the gym.
Has anybody adviced you against giving the NBA a shot this year instead of waiting a little longer?
RR: Yeah. People will say you need to wait out, play for a high-level team in Europe and then go to the NBA. But you look at guys like Tony Parker or Sefolosha and they didn’t play in great leagues. They worked hard and they had the talent and potential… If you get a great coach on a good team, you can come to play in the NBA.
You have said that you would rather play in the D-League than Europe next year. Why is that?
RR: Just because my goal in life and my dream is to be in the NBA. To be on a roster with a team. If a coach or an organization thinks I’m not ready and want to send me to the D-League, I wouldn’t have an issue with it. Once I prove myself there, I’m going to be admitted to the NBA.
Which teams have you worked out for so far?
RR: I’ve worked out in Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Memphis, Golden State, Sacramento, Utah, San Antonio twice and I have another workout coming up this week.
Which workout has been the best so far?
RR: I would say San Antonio. I got great feedback from everywhere I’ve worked out, but my two workouts with San Antonio were the best. Also a good workout in Utah.
Which NBA player do you think you resemble the most?
RR: I would say, not really… But I’d say I try to base my face-up game in players such as Chris Bosh, Rasheed Wallace… I would like to be versatile as well like Lamar Odom. See the floor high-low, penetrate and kick…
So in the NBA you don’t want to be just a low-post player, you want to have a perimeter game too…
RR: To me, I just want to be versatile. Whatever the coach wants me to do, whether it is to stay in the post or something else, I will do. Whatever he wants. But I want to have the ability to play inside out.
Are they paying attention in England to what you’re doing in the United States during the draft process or not at all?
RR: People paying attention in England?
Yeah, the people and the media.
RR: Oh, I don’t think so. The people than I’m close with are following me… But you hit it on the head. It’s not a huge sport there. But some people are following it to see what happens. It’s a small basketball community so everybody knows everybody.