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Chicago Bulls represent an open door for Cameron Ridley

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NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the season, senior center Cameron Ridley wasn’t able to even walk on his own two feet. The crutches the 6’9, 285-pound big man was forced to lean on after fracturing his left foot in practice December 27 crippled what had looked to be career season in the making as one of the college basketball’s most commanding two-way threats. As a result, Ridley would cheer his Texas Longhorns on the from the sidelines for the following 20 games before returning to play a collective seven minutes against Baylor and Northern Iowa to end his collegiate career.

A 22-year-old big man coming off of a severe foot injury—it’s no wonder the former McDonald’s All-American went undrafted after 115 games as a Longhorn. But while there’s no telling where a healthy, successful season would have landed the Houston native, what once appeared to be a career killing injury may have become a blessing in disguise.

Photo: Texas Sports

Ridley fell into an ideal scenario at an ideal time with the Chicago Bulls adding the former ‘Horn to their Las Vegas Summer League roster. Not only will he get the opportunity that looked far from promised over the past few months, but also he’ll be performing for a franchise amid a roster overhaul with an all-of-a-sudden glaring lack of interior depth and talent.

With reports that Joakim Noah is expected to sign a pricey deal with the New York Knicks and Pau Gasol declining his player option for next season, the Bulls frontcourt cupboards became quite bare in a matter of days. The reports that Chicago intends to deal veteran power forward Taj Gibson prior to the final year of his contract further emphasized the Bulls need for interior talent and a center on a roster that now has none.

If Ridley can flash the interior prowess that helped him average 12.7 points, 10 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in 26 minutes per game prior to his injury, a partially guaranteed deal likely awaits Ridley.

The door is open and on the other side is a future in the NBA. Ridley just has to walk through it.