Ricky Sanchez: "I will be ready for the NBA in two years"
Ricky Sanchez: First of all, I've got to tell you it is very cold. It's truly a quiet place, very different from Puerto Rico. I'm on my own here and on my way to becoming a man. Little by little, I'm going to make it.
Is it what you were expecting?
RS: Yes, really. I was expecting cold weather. There is not an awful lot do.
So a little bored?
RS: I wouldn't go that far, because my teammates are really nice guys and we are always doing something. Besides, my father is coming today and he's going to keep me busy.
How's living on your own there?
RS: I've come to the point where I'm pretty much used to it. Last year, I was in the IMG Academy and I was living on my own there too for almost a year. So I can say I can handle things pretty well. But now it's a little different because I'm totally alone. It's like a man's world now for me. Sometimes I have problems and call back home to speak with my mom, but I think everything is going to be fine.
I guess it's hard living away from the family that young.
RS: Obviously nobody wants to live alone. You want your parents and the people you love to be with you... Cause I'm still a kid. I have not totally matured yet.
How's everything going on the basketball court?
RS: It's going very well. It's a learning process for me. It's a different game and you have to come ready every day. There are no free days or you will pay the price on the court. It has been a little bit hard on my body, but you have to keep fighting.
Are you playing power forward there?
RS: No, they are moving me now to small forward. I'm going to start playing at the three.
Which of the two forward positions do you like the most?
RS: I like small forward better because that's the position I've played all my life.
So you would rather play on the perimeter than bang in the paint, right?
RS: You can say that. I feel very comfortable at the three. But at the same time, I want to learn how to play the power forward position.
You signed with the Idaho Stampede because the Nuggets recommended it to you. Is that correct?
Would you rather be playing elsewhere, maybe in the NBA, or is the CBA OK with you?
RS: I truly think it was a great decision on the Nuggets' part to send me here. I knew that was the best thing for me because my gut feeling was that I wasn't ready for the NBA this year. I knew I wasn't ready. The Nuggets are checking how I'm doing here and that's good. I go step by step and at my own pace. If I was in the NBA right now, I wouldn't be playing. I want to go to the NBA when I'm ready to play.
And when do you think that's going to happen?
RS: I would say in two years.
So what do you think about the decision of your friend Peter John Ramos? He jumped to the NBA straight out of high school. Was that wrong?
RS: It's different. Peter was more ready. He was stronger. The Wizards sent him now to the D-League. It was a good move for him because he needs playing time. Everybody says 'the NBA, the NBA', but it's not just about being in the NBA. At the end of the day, what you want to do is play. That is going to be good for him. He's going to be a great player.
There was some talk that you may play in Spain this season. Was there ever anything serious about that?
RS: Yes, there was some interest from a team... It was Real Madrid. There was an offer they made. They talked with Denver, but I'm not sure what happened after that.
You played in the summer leagues with the Nuggets? How was that?
RS: It was just great. It was my first contact with professional basketball and it was incredible. Those were 10 great days, working with the coaches, playing with the guys. It was great.
Did you get the chance to speak with Carmelo Anthony, who also has Puerto Rican roots?
RS: Yes, he's a great guy. It's not one of those guys that's going to speak a lot, but you notice he's a great person.
Do you stay in touch with Peter John Ramos?
RS: Yes, we speak on the phone. Not as much as we used to because we are in different time zones, but every time I have some free time I call him.
How did you meet each other?
RS: When they brought him to Puerto Rico, that same day I had just arrived at a new city from a different part of the country to attend high school. I met him there and we went to the same high school together for three years. So we became good friends there.
When did you make up your mind about entering the draft?
RS: It was kind a of a precipitate decision. I had been playing at IMG Academy all year. And then I had a workout with the people at the university I was going to attend. I did well and John Calipari saw me and we said, 'Maybe we have a chance here'. I tried my luck and this is what happened.
And you are pleased with the decision, I guess.
RS: Sure, I don't regret anything. Things have gone well for me ever since.
Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com
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