Leading up to the NBA draft on Thursday, CSNPhilly.com is profiling local players and their chances of being drafted. Monday, we took a look at Temple's Khalif Wyatt. Tuesday, we tackle La Salle's Ramon Galloway:
As if it wasn’t already hard enough to become one of the 60 players selected in Thursday’s NBA draft, the task became even more difficult for Ramon Galloway after he landed funny on his foot and sprained his ankle during a workout with the Washington Wizards earlier this month.
But for the former La Salle standout, it’s just another hurdle in a basketball career that’s already been filled with them.
“I’m not projected to go anywhere, so it doesn’t matter to me,” Galloway said by phone from New York as he readied for the draft. “It’s just another something to motivate me. It’s not like I’m projected to go in the first round or even the second round. At the end of the day, it’s about how hard I work and how much I bounce back.”
Not being included in mock drafts, after all, is not the kind of thing that would faze Galloway, who knows he’s just “got to play like the underdog.” And that’s a role that’s always worked well for him, particularly during the 2012-13 college basketball season when he led La Salle to the program’s first NCAA tournament berth in 21 years followed by a stunning trip to the Sweet 16.
Galloway, who helped revive La Salle’s once-dormant program after transferring from South Carolina in 2011, averaged a team-best 17.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game last year and shot over 40 percent from three-point range in both seasons with the Explorers.
Now, he’s looking to become the first La Salle alum to get drafted since Rasual Butler in 2002.
“The draft is so hard to predict so I have no idea what’s going to happen,” La Salle coach John Giannini said. “But I do know people like him, I do know that he’s worked out well and I do know that he has summer league opportunities. I certainly think he has the athleticism and the intangibles to play in the league and to contribute to a team.”
He has something else too -- something that his coach saw every day at practice.
“What I told NBA teams was that if the draft were solely based on energy and personality, he would be a lottery pick,” Giannini said. “You can’t possibly have more energy. He’s tremendous fun to be around. As soon as he comes in the gym, he has an energy and a sense of humor that I certainly could not duplicate. People like being around him.
“I really think veterans are going to love him,” the coach continued. “If I was a veteran player, I would love to have a young guy on my team with his energy and personality. He will keep people loose. He will push people. He will compete but he’ll also make people laugh.”
Galloway’s personality certainly shone through during the last two years in North Philly. Blessed with the opportunity to play in his home city, the standout guard was both emotional and jovial, whether he was rapping before a press conference began or breaking down into tears because his mom wasn’t in attendance to see him hit the game-winning shot in a wild upset win over Butler.
But then, family has always been the most important thing in Galloway’s life. That’s the main reason he transferred from La Salle: to be closer to his blind father (who never missed a game) and ailing grandfather.
What would it mean to them if Galloway plays professional basketball?
“It would mean everything in the world,” Galloway said. “My family is everything to me. They’ve always had my back through the ups and downs. To them, this is all unreal. I’ve come a long way growing up as a person and growing as a player.”
Even if Galloway does not hear his name called Thursday, he knows there will be other opportunities out there for him. And he quickly noted that he’d “absolutely” be open to playing overseas because he would “still get paid to do something I love, and a lot of people don’t get the opportunity do that.”
But for now, he’s focused on just getting his foot in the door, playing with the right NBA summer league team, cutting down on his turnovers and his likeness for home run passes and showcasing that he’s an all-around player who can play both guard positions.
“Whether you’re drafted or undrafted,” Galloway said, “you’ve still got to prove yourself in the summer league.”
Giannini knows how competitive that league will be with so many on-the-cusp college stars fighting for NBA roster spots. But he also truly believes Galloway has as decent a shot as any of them.
“He will play professionally at some level,” the La Salle coach said. “And I think he’ll be in the NBA, whether it’s sooner or it’s later.”