By Tom Zelinski
The University of Calgary men’s basketball team has had its share of struggles over the past few years. After failing to make the playoffs last season, the Dinos currently hold a dismal 1-7 record this year. The Dinos’ record doesn’t necessarily reflect the effort each member of the team puts into practices and games. Players are playing hard and trying to reverse what so far has been a frustrating season. One of those players is fifth-year guard Brad Gallup.
Gallup has roots in the game of basketball, and started playing the game at an early age.
"I’ve been playing ever since I can remember," he says. "My dad coached. My older brothers and sisters played. I honestly don’t remember the first time I tried to dribble or shoot."
After attending Bert Church High School in Airdrie, Gallup was recruited to play for the Dinos. The choice to actually play for Calgary was easily made for Gallup.
"A number of factors came in. They had a good program here, and it was close to home too."
Another factor that influenced Gallup to play university basketball close to home was the Dinos’ position at the time: Richard Bohne had led the Dinos to nationals. Gallup says playing with Bohne, one of the best basketball players ever to play at U of C, taught him a lot.
"How can you not learn by attempting to guard Richard Bohne everyday at practice? As long as you try and have some effort you are going to learn." Being the only fifth-year player on the Dinos, Gallup is counted on to be a leader and takes a modest approach to his leadership skills
"It’s kind of a natural thing, maybe," replies Gallup. "But we have some other guys with leadership qualities as well."
Dinos coach Cory Russell also counts on Gallup as a leader.
"We rely on him a lot for leadership, consistent play, good work ethic, and I’m pleased to say he tries every single day."
Russell acknowledges that like every other player, Gallup has his off days.
"There are times when his shot doesn’t go for him and his scoring consistency isn’t there. But his effort, his work on defense is there every day."
With no conference games for the next few weeks, the Dinos has come to a crossroads. Recording only one win in their first eight games, the Dinos need to get some victories on the board. Their losing ways so far this season have been frustrating for Gallup.
"I hate it," he explains. "How can you ever be happy and satisfied with losing? If you are, then you shouldn’t be playing competitive sports."
But the Dinos hope to turn around their play during the second half of the season.
"I’ll say this," declares Gallup. "I think you’ll see a different team in the second half. I’m pretty sure we’re going to show more of the team that we are."
Before the Dinos season started, they hoped not only to make the playoffs, but to actually host a playoff game right here at U of C. According to Gallup, the team’s focus has changed.
"I think it’s still possible, but with goal setting, you always have to re-evaluate and check on how things are going. At this point right now, the focus is more to get to the playoffs" Gallup says the Dinos have an excellent chance of still making playoffs, and he’ll be disappointed if they don’t.
While Gallup has expectations for his team, his teammates and coach also have expectations of him.
"Our expectation of [Gallup] to be a 15-point-a-game guy is realistic for his skills," remarks Russell. "And by and large, he has delivered that."
So what does Gallup hope to do after the season is over?
"I’d like to go to the NBA," jokes Gallup, but the Computer Science major has more practical goals. "Realistically, I’ll probably have to get a job just like the rest of us. This will probably be my last year of competitive, organized basketball."
Gallup’s mind is set to make the playoffs He knows the team has its work cut out, but he thinks they can do it. So for Gallup and the rest of the Dinos, the second half of this season will be a test to see just how good the Dinos can be.