Gallant adjusting to playing ACAA basketball
Dylan Gallant lays the ball in the basket while playing for the Three Oaks Axemen. Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Dylan Gallant of Summerside is making a successful transition from high school basketball on P.E.I. to the Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association (ACAA).
Gallant, a five-foot-nine point guard, is in his rookie season with the St. Thomas Tommies in Fredericton, N.B. He graduated in June from Three Oaks Senior High School, where he helped the Axemen win back-to-back P.E.I. School Athletic Association Senior AAA Boys Basketball League championships.
“It’s different (in the ACCA),” said Gallant. “You have to be a lot stronger mentally. It’s a faster pace and a different style, but I’m really enjoying it.”
In eight regular-season games with the Tommies, Gallant is averaging 4.88 points a game, and is 15-for-42 from the field and is 5-for-17 from beyond the arc.
“I’m playing more than the other freshmen,” said Gallant. “I’m probably getting 10 to 15 minutes a game. That’s better than I expected.”
Gallant, who is in the bachelor-of-arts program, is in the gym every day, working on either team concepts or individual skills.
“It’s a lot more reading,” he said in explaining some adjustments he has had to make for the next level of competition. “You have to be two steps ahead of the defence so you can see where to go and where your teammates are going to go.”
As the season has progressed, the 18-year-old son of Donnie and Paulette Gallant admits he is feeling more comfortable. However, it’s not an easy league to play.
“Holland College is sixth in Canada, we’re ranked 15th in Canada and we have other teams who have been ranked in and out of the (national) rankings,” said Gallant. “It’s a strong league.”
The Tommies won the bronze medal at last year’s nationals, and Gallant added the team hopes to build on that history in 2013.
“Our goal is to do better,” added Gallant. “Our goal is to always win the ACAA.”
The Tommies return to action on Jan. 2 in an exhibition game against the cross-city UNB Varsity Reds of the Atlantic University Sport Men’s Basketball Conference. Gallant is looking forward to playing against his former Axemen teammate Mark Matheson, who is in his rookie season with UNB.
“It will be fun,” added Gallant. “It will be good to be back.”
Jason Simmonds is the sports editor of the Journal Pioneer. The “Islanders Away” feature appears every Thursday. To suggest an “Islander Away” please do so by emailing email@example.com.