Photo C/O Kyle West
This past weekend, fourth-year McMaster basketball player Connor Gilmore was selected in the inaugural Canadian Elite Basketball League Entry Draft. Gilmore was drafted by the Hamilton Honey Badgers with the team’s first selection of the two-round U Sports component of the draft.
This special opportunity will allow Gilmore to experience professional basketball and earn money towards his tuition. He and the Honey Badgers will play in the first CEBL season this upcoming summer, from May 9 and Aug. 15.
We caught up with Gilmore after the draft below.
The Silhouette: What year and program are you in?
Gilmore: I’m in my fourth year going into my fifth of sociology.
What made you decide to come to Mac?
G: I initially wanted to go to a school in the States, but that didn’t work out. Mac just had the most to offer from all different categories. With really nice facilities and being a good school academically, and I felt like it would have a true university experience here.
If you had to sum up you university basketball in one sentence what would it be?
G: A rollercoaster ride. Switching coaches, transferring and coming back, the journey has been all over the place. Initially, I would have been done last year, but I had to sit out for one year, though that isn’t a bad thing especially because it gave me a chance to be a part of this. Regardless of all the ups and downs, the journey has been a lot of fun.
What have you learned from your experience?
G: Through basketball, I learned how to handle myself on my own. Before high school, I had the support of my parents at all times, helping me out with things. Being in university, you learn a lot of lessons and how to deal with different people without that help. Especially being one of the captains on the team, you see how other people receive information differently and you have to learn to adjust to that.
What was your initial reaction when you were drafted?
G: Well I knew before the draft, but I was really excited because I would still be able to train at Mac and for the Honey Badgers at the same time. It’s just an awesome opportunity. To get to learn from the pros and make some money towards my university tuition is just a really good experience. Being able to see what pro basketball [is like] without having to leave university helps me to know what to prepare for in the future.
What is one thing you want to take from your time as a Honey Badger this summer?
G: I’m not expecting to play because the initial expectations from coaches taking U Sports guys are to get development players. One thing I’m really just trying to get out of it is to learn from the guys who have played 100-plus pro games. They have a lot of experience I can gain from, and to be able to push them as players as well is such an amazing opportunity.