Gallup, Legends looking to the future

There has been plenty of excitement lately for Gloversville’s E.J. Gallup.

Earlier this year he was inducted into the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame and received recognition of the accomplishment during the Coach K Classic at Gloversville High School.

Then the two teams he played college basketball for – the University at Albany and Coastal Carolina – made it into the NCAA tournament.

Now Gallup is back on the court playing with and captaining the Schenectady Electric City Legends this weekend against the Racine Storm of Wisconsin.

The Legends opened the two-game series Friday handing the Storm their first loss of the season 137-122. The second game of the set will be played at 7 p.m. tonight at the Duanesburg Area Community Center.

“I was excited and proud that both UAlbany and Coastal Carolina made the big dance this year,” Gallup said. “This past month is what basketball fans live for with the high school state tournament, March Madness and now the NBA playoffs shaping up. So why not add a few Legends games against the first place team from Wisconsin to the list? We’re excited for a fun weekend.”

He pointed out that more than 150 tickets were purchased to the weekend series by basketball fans from the Fulton County area alone. Tickets are still available for tonight’s game at the Duanesburg Area Community Center at $12 for adults and $8 for children. Children 5 and under are admitted free.

Gallup has been a member of the Legends since 2011 when they played in the Washington Avenue Armory and the moved their home games to Christian Brothers Academy.

The Legends are members of the Independent Basketball Association and after moderate success in drawing a consistent fan base, are taking advantage of a branding season offered by the IBA.

When a team moves, the league allows the team to play a few games at home in an effort to introduce themselves to the area fans and not worry about traveling and the expenses associated with playing a 20-game schedule.

The two weekend games will count in the standings for the IBA Spring schedule.

“It’s never really hard to find guys that are willing to play or tryout for the Legends,” Gallup said of finding players interested in a short season. “Guys realize that it’s a great opportunity for them to showcase their talents and take a step in the right direction toward making a career playing basketball.”

Gallup and Legends co-captain Lloyd Johnson both have had success playing basketball professionally overseas.

Gallup’s resume includes playing professionally for ABC Amsterdam Holland, Ratiopharm Ulm Germany and TBB Trier Germany in the Basketball Bundesliga, the top professional league in the country. He joined the Albany Legends in 2011.

“Being a captain and a veteran there are times on the floor during a game where I try to lead as much as needed,” Gallup said. “More for me it’s during practice or just talking to guys and giving them advice on different things like agents or playing overseas or what to expect playing with the Legends. When I was coming out of college and starting my professional career I had older guys that looked out for me and gave me advice so I feel like I owe it to the game and the guys before me to pass on whatever I can to the younger guys.”

The Legends are looking toward the future and rejoining the IBA full time.

“I think the Legends are heading in a great direction and the future looks very promising,” Gallup said. “The city of Schenectady has put a lot of money into it’s downtown area and there are a lot of businesses and supporters in that area that are ready to welcome the franchise there with open arms. We are hoping that renovations are complete at the Armory by the fall so we can have our new home to play in the winter season next year but if it ends up taking them a bit longer with the construction then I’m sure there will be other options.”

Being a part of the community is a goal for the Legends.

“The Legends are much more than just a basketball team trying to find guys jobs overseas,” Gallup said. “We do a lot in the community with clinics, day camps and help support kids AAU teams. I think Schenectady recognizes that and I see nothing but great things for the team in that area in the future.”

Gallup takes pride in his conditioning and being able to step on the court and play competitively. During the 2011 season, Gallup shot 51 percent from 3-point range for the Legends. He averaged 16.5 points per games in 2011, 18-plus ppg in 2012 and 21.5 ppg in 2013

“I’ve been getting asked that more and more lately,” Gallup said about playing professionally in his 30s. “Last summer I was Inducted into the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame and then this winter they had a plaque ceremony for me at GHS. Both were very nice and I was honored and humbled to be thought of in that way, but I was thinking to myself, joking with my family and asking is this someone’s way of telling me it time to step away? I know that more of my career is behind me than there is ahead of me but at the same time my body feels great and I still have the same drive and competitiveness I’ve always had and also every year I still get high level overseas offers to play so I’m not ready to call it quits just yet.”