Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 7, 2012

Garrison gets Ballers back rolling

NIAGARA FALLS — Rob Garrison is making the transition from playing the game of basketball to developing basketball players.

Garrison, the former Niagara Falls High School and Niagara University standout, said this week that he will be bringing the G.C. Ballers back to the AAU circuit in the spring.

With future professional athletes Jonny Flynn, Paul Harris, Lazar Hayward and Mike Williams leading the way, the G.C. Ballers were a powerhouse program traveling around the country to high-level tournaments. Garrison played for the team in 2005 and the exposure he got during that time is one of the reasons he was able to land a scholarship from the University of Connecticut, where he played two seasons before transferring to Niagara.

The Ballers dissolved in 2007 when former coach Jeff Bishop left to take a coaching position in North Carolina.

Bishop recruited Garrison to bring the Ballers back, and the Niagara Falls native is excited about the opportunity.

“We always said it was like a family and we want to keep that family going,” Garrison said. “I started paying attention to the kids, going to the Boys and Girls Club and places in Buffalo. There’s a new wave of kids around here.”

Since he finished his playing career at Niagara almost three years ago, Garrison has attempted to find a job playing basketball overseas while also trying to start a career outside of basketball. He’s now put both of those pursuits on the back burner to focus on this endeavor.

“When you give to the kids, that’s the only thing that’s fulfilling,” Garrison said. “I know at the end of the day, no matter what, I’m going to be able to rest my head at night and know that I did something that is nurturing to society.”

Garrison said he is in the process of forming a staff, seeking out gyms to hold practices, and find “the cream of the crop” among players ages 10 and up.

“GC has a lot of history,” Garrison said. “It’s going to attract the kids and it’s going to attract members of the community because of the history of the program. We’re going to teach kids how to give, how to be unselfish on the court and how to give back.”

G.C. Ballers Alumni

Name        League    Team

Jonny Flynn    NBA Houston Rockets

Lazar Hayward    NBA    Oklahoma City Thunder

Tristan Thompson    NBA    Cleveland Cavaliers

Corey Joseph    NBA    San Antonio Spurs

Mike Williams    NFL    Tampa Bay Bucaneers

Paul Harris    NBDL     Maine Red Claws

Junior Cadougan    NCAA    Marquette

Devoe Joseph    NCAA    Oregon

Olu Ashaolu    NCAA    Oregon

 

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