The 2012 Olympic games are fast approaching and for San Antonio Spurs fans, it will give them a chance to see some of their favorite Spurs players (and possible future players) in action before the new season kicks off.
One possible player is Ryan Richards, who was drafted by the Spurs in 2010, who was set to play for the host country Great Britain, but has shocked the British national team by announcing he intends to play for Jamaica and not Great Britain for the upcoming Olympics.
“Clearly Ryan is a talented athlete,” said British Basketball’s performance director Chris Spice.
“He’s been with both GB and England for quite some time. We’re disappointed that he’s made that decision. But we have to move on.”
Some doubt has already been cast on the 21-year-old’s eligibility to switch countries under restrictive FIBA rules.
This isn't the first time Richards has made a questionable move. Recently, he left Swiss team Lugano Tigers citing personal reasons.
There is no doubt Richards has all the physical tools to be a good pro-player but now one has to question whether he has the maturity, and mental focus as well. Now he has left British Basketball to scramble for players to fill his spot right near the start of their pre-Olympic training camp. In other words, he basically quit on Great Britain.
The more he jumps from team-to-team, stunts his basketball development and it probably doesn't look good in the eyes of the Spurs front office and coaching staff if they entertain thoughts of bringing him to the team.
I think we need to throw some money at Luis Scola now that he has been amnestied by Houston. We may need to amnesty one our bigs to have the money for this but Scola can play and he should have been here to begin with. C'mon RC and Pop .....work your magic. You know Manu and Scola are already talking about it.
If Richards was NBA ready, he would be playing for the Spurs, like Kiwah at the age of 20, but he is not. We do not need another Splitter, Bonner or Blair, we need a NBA proven atheltic big (6'10 and taller) who can get at least 10 points,10 rebounds and 1 to 2 blocks a game and if he is a poor free throw shooter (<70%) he needs to get 15 points a game. The Spurs need trade, Bonner and Blair and maybe even Tiago Splitter. The Spurs were luckey they did not have to play Memphis.
Whatever y'all, this dude's a quitter. He doesn't sound like a Spur to me. He probably just wants to be irie on the beach, that's okay, it's his life after all. Anyone who expects this dude to contribute during the Duncan era is probably smoking some bad $h!+.
@SpurGuy That's not Richards fault that he landed in B class teams and Pop didn't bring him down to the Toros after his recoveries. He even left his British team because he is going to have none to limited playing time in the Olympics with the British team. They aren't telling you that. One of his parents is Jamaican and they came knocking on his door asking if he'd be on the team and pretty much willing to give him significant playing time. He took it so he can showcase to Pop even if they bow out early at least he'll have something to show. That's another player Pop needs to get down here after the Olympics and put him in Toro camp. If you can't evaluate him in Toro camp than that's either Pop's problem or he just won't be NBA material. Put it this way that's Mahinmi 2.0 but an inch taller at 7'0" but the difference is he can shoot from downtown and is more athletic and can handle the ball like nobody's business at that height. It took Mahinmi forever to put on some weight then improve. Unfortunately he is now becoming an NBA level player. As for Richards the time is now to evaluate him even if you put in the Toro camp and leave him there for a season at least he'll be able to show Pop what he has to offer after one season in the DLeague. We have nothing to lose if they just evaluate him now besides he was a long shot pick anyway. If he can grasp the Pop system quickly and show some signs of defense (shot blocking) and can rebound then he will be useful to us. Many people in this forum here expects for Tim Duncan 2.0 to walk in from nowhere. Sorry but we only get those every 10-15 years in and in lottery picks. So in the meantime if we can get height mixed in with serviceable talent add that to experienced good NBA talent in the front court than we'll be fine. I just wouldn't put him on the shelf and never see what he can do until he's 28 years old. That's crazy.
I wish Hibbert would play for Jamaica too. Definitely question Richards maturity. But it would be interesting to see what him and Hibbert could do for Jamaica.
hes going to jamaica cus hes gonna get way more mins. than he would with GB. every team hes left hasnt played him the way he wasnt to be played. call himselffish but hes talent is far beyond setting on the beach, hes doing what ever it takes to get San Antoino attention and its working cus he has mine after what happen with the thunder.
@ReneJasso You got that right. People need to chill on Richards. He's just trying to get showcased. Like I said in my post he's a long shot anyway and his attitude is play me so I can show Pop. That is his primary goal. He has continually stated in the British interviews that Spurs , Pop and the FO are his only focus. He want's to get here really bad. Besides why would the Spurs organization cover the tab on both his shoulder surgeries and rehab him to boot? The only problem is Pop needs to stop the wine drinking and get Richards butt down here ASAP.
What a waste! I was indeed keen to see him on first hand with team GB at the London Games. Whatever the reason he's decision was made based on, I really really hope it's a logical one.
I mean, what can you expect from playing with Jamaica?
With Team GB, he can learn from the likes Luol Deng, Pops Mensah, Ben Gordon (if joins the team).
A real waste of talent. I hope he finds what he is looking for. In the meantime, Spurs will move to look for the best talent out there as always.
@SivanJohn What does he expect playing for Jamaica? Playing time. To showcase his talents to Pop. He is desperate for an opportunity. He won't get that with the British team because he's been informed he may not see that much time on the court and he would rather have the minutes instead, even if it means playing with the Jamaican team. At least he'll play a butt load there be it a few games.
@SivanJohn Can you see that the inferences of this short article has lead to people questioning the intelligence or reasoning of a guy we know almost nothing about. Suppose his grandmother's illness was both the reason for leaving his Swiss team and joining the Jamaican team, as she could have been a Jamaican native and had a wish for her grandson to play for her home nation. Just a suppose to illustarte how foolish it is question someones motives we no nothing about.
@jojo707 Appreciate your response to my comment and I truly respect your views. But firstly, let me clarify that my comment was purely based on the facts that I know and nothing else. I'm sure we can all agree, from a basketball career point of view that choosing to play for Jamaica over Great Britain (let alone playing in the Olympics) could only mean one thing that your career is going downwards.Besides this what better way he has to impress the Spurs management that he deserve the chance to play in the NBA?
That was all what I'm trying to stress here.
If there was any personal agenda behind this, well I wouldn't know about that unless Richards come clean about it and put it on record.
In the end, the choice is his so I respect that and I hope you understand where I'm coming from as well.
A guy should have free choice where he wants to play. Lets respect the choice by Riachards. Talking of possible changes in the Spurs" lineup, they don't even have to draft a rookie. There priority is big man, shooting guard and possibly point guard. They don't have to go far. At the end of the season ae several free agents. For pf/c - Kaman, Okafor, Humphries, Mahinmi, Odom, West Clark, Al Jefferson and Milshap. For SG - Tony Allen, Artiza, Damion Jones. For SF - Korver, Azubiu, Wright, Illyasova, Cook, Miles. For PG - Livingston, CJ Watson. Thry can replace their NPAs, Non-Performing Assets bonner, blair, anderson, green, mills and splitter. Are the coaching staff and GM Buford serious in rebuilding the team? STOP using as a reason that San Antonio is a small market. STOP stingy spending if the Spurs wanr to contend! Or,call Bertans and deColo.
@rtesoro440 Outside of Jefferson, Millsap, Kaman and maybe Humphries, there isn't anyone on this list that is really an upgrade over what we have, and the only one of those that isn't a money chaser is Kaman, and the only one worth over 10 mill a year is Jefferson, but all but Kaman will easily get contracts for more than that. A bunch of these guys are also restricted free agents, and your SGs are not SGs, but are SFs. I think we need to cut bait with most of the guys you named though. but there is a select few free agents in this years class that would actually help us. They need to make a trade or bring some of the talent from overseas in. I'm all for stashing these overseas players while they develop... but we really need to take advantage of the teachers on the team right now to groom them if they really think those picks are our future.
Jeff- we shouldn't speculate when someone indicates there are personal reasons for returning home, nor should it be assumed that his judgement was at fault changing teams. Suggesting that this cast a shadow on his prospects to join the Spurs is making wild leaps, in my opinion. Otherwise, it is good to know he is still playing ball after leaving the Luango team.