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Q&A with Julian Gamble (Part I)

They say one way to lift the spirit of a kid is to give them a piece of candy. Imagine then what it's like to hand a pack of Skittles over to a sick 5-year old orphan who spends his entire life fighting off flies, malnourishment and 115-degree heat in the slums of Senegal?

University of Miami redshirt freshman Julian Gamble encountered that very situation Julian_gambleearlier this month when he participated in  a 13-day trip to Africa with Athletes in Action. Gamble, a 6-9, 240-pound center from Raleigh, N.C., experienced many things on his adventure to West Africa. He played in international games. He stood toe-to-toe against a 7-foot, 4-inch giant from Mali and got his shots swatted by Jared Carter, a 7-2 center from Kentucky. But nothing on his trip had quite as big of an impact as a visit to a local orphanage in Senegal.

"There were a lot of kids there and most of them were sick," Gamble told me when I spoke to him last week. "We were just trying to play with them and make them happy. Well, during one break, there was this one little boy who saw me eating this pack of Skittles. He had no idea what it was. So, I gave him one and he got so happy. We just started playing and running around, playing catch, making him happy. It warmed my heart a lot to give him that because it's not like he has a home, where he's going to get ready for school or something. All he does is stay in that orphanage. For us to be there for that small moment was really special."

Gamble, who made the trip with nearly a dozen other college basketball players from Julian_gamble_actionaround the country, had many special moments on his trip. It was the first time in his life he ever left the United States -- and the first time since he made the jump from high school to college he's been able to get into a game. Last season, he sat, learned, and watched UM go from preseason last pick in the ACC to the second round of the NCAA tournament. This season, with Anthony King and Ray Hicks gone, he will almost assuredly be a part of the new four-person, big-man rotation for coach Frank Haith. I caught up with Julian last week to discuss all that. But first, in this two-part Q&A series, I'll let him share his experiences from his adventure, which included an eight-point, 12-rebound effort in a 73-62 win against Mali.

Q: So, last year, I know Brian Asbury (China) and Jimmy Graham (Australia) got to do the same kind of trip? How did this trip come about for you?
A: Our team Chaplin, Pastor Steve, he works with Athletes in Action. Being around Jimmy and stuff like that, he’s big with Athletes in Action. It was a combination of talking to both of them. I told them I definitely wanted to take advantage of an opportunity if it came about and it did. I didn’t know I was going until about a week before I went. So, it was kind of tough securing my passport. Plus, I had to raise money for finances and things I would need over there. I wrote a letter asking for some donations. Luckily, there are a lot of donators to Athletes in Action in the Miami area. From there, I just went up to Ohio where they are based. We worked out for a couple days and then went to Africa and spent about two weeks over there.

Q: How was the flight?
A:The flight was long. We flew from Ohio to New York and from New York to Paris. That was about a seven and a half hour flight. We had a 6 hour layover. We didn’t go anywhere. We just chilled. Then we had another five hour flight to Senegal. And after we stayed in Senegal we had another two hour flight to Mali. Even though they’re connecting countries, you can’t drive from Senegal to Mali because of the different terrains and they’re aren’t even roads. On the way back it was a little shorter. It was about 5 ½ hours. The flights are long. But when your talking to your teammates and going to sleep it goes by fast.

Q: Who went on the trip with you?
A: It was an assortment of players throughout. Our coach was the assistant coach from Valparaiso. He had a couple players from his Valpo team out there. There were a couple players from the Kentucky team we are playing this year -- Jared Carter and Ramon Harris. They had a kid from Belmont, Shane Dansey, who played really well against Duke in the tournament. We had a guy from Murray State. We had St. Mary’s Ian O’Leary, who we played against in the tournament last year. So, really it was a wide assortment of players -- everybody from rising seniors to rising freshmen. We had a good team. I think I played well for the most part. I think out there its definitely a different game. The lanes are wider. The traveling is different. Our first game we probably had like 40 turnovers, just traveling. Once we starting playing I got used to it. Basically, it’s more of a physical game. I think maybe 75 percent of the things over there would be fouls over here. I played pretty well. We played five games and I think I had three double-doubles.

Q: Did you start any of the games?
A:
Yes, I started. But we had a rotation. There were no set starters. One team would start one game and another the next. I started a couple. Everybody played equal time. It wasn’t a situation where it was a clear cut starting five. We were all kind of equal as players.

Jared_carterQ: What do you think you learned out there and who did you match up with?
A: I matched up with Jared Carter, who plays for Kentucky. He’s 7-2. And he plays center. It was good for me to play with somebody like that, to play against someone bigger than me. At first, he was blocking my shots because I wasn’t used to it. I had to use my body different ways, use different moves and things like that. There was another guy out there from Valpo. It was Urule Igbavboa [senior]. Playing against season vets, I learned a lot.

Q: Do you get a chance to see Africa?
A: We did a lot of different things. It wasn’t just a situation where we were going on safaris or anything. As a team, we went and visited orphanages and we went and saw different communities. We saw the market and saw the city and did a lot of community service while we were out there. We did basketball clinics for up-and-coming basketball players. I mean I feel like we’ve seen the better parts of Africa and saw everything that was going on over there. We weren’t just going to the zoo. We got a chance to see everyday life out there in Africa.

Q: What made the biggest impression on you from the trip?
A: The one thing I kind of told everyone about, I told Jimmy Graham about it, I told Coach Haith about is just how the demeanor of the people. They don’t have nearly as many privileges as they do over here and they are still always happy. You don’t see them complaining how most people do over here. It just kind of gives you a sense of sitting back and thinking why would I take things for granted? Why would I complain about the little things I do have when there are people over here who have nothing and they’re happy and they’re just living life. They have everyday struggles, but theirs are a hundred times worse than ours. Seeing how friendly they were and seeing the resources they have, they have very little, and they’re still friendly. They’re not walking around being mean spirited or mean-hearted like most people over here in America would do.

Q: What’s a typical home like in the neighborhoods you visited?
A: Typically what we saw over there in the ghettos in Mali were like cement houses with no doors. It was Mali_street_2very small, enclosed places. It was very hot. People washed their clothes outside. They cook their food with the little grease they could get and they just reused everything. You don’t see a lot of things around. I didn’t see many trash cans while I was over there. The landscape isn’t that of over here. There’s a lot of trash everywhere. The typical house didn’t have much. They didn’t have much, but they always offered their best when guests came through.

Q: Was it a life changing experience for you?
A: Definitely. It opened my eyes to many things. And now that I’m back I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with my teammates so they can see how it is over there and how we took take things for granted over here when we have no reason to.

Coming Thursday: Part II, Gamble talks about the weight he's lost since arriving at UM last year at 6-8, 265, his progress on and off the court and what he hopes to provide the Canes this coming season.

Comments

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Good stuff.


Thanks Manny... great article.

Ya never know how good you have it till you see the other side.

For a young kid, his analysis of the comparative general attitudes of Africans and Americans is spot on.

It was great to hear a good story for a change. Thanks Julian Gamble!

Puts basketball in perspective against the background of mindnumbing poverty and suffering. Hopefully it will raise everyone's consciousness of their awareness of global problems.

Great story!!! Great to hear something positive about young athletes in the midst of so much negativity.

Manny...bringing the GOOD stuff! Nice perspective from a great kid.

Faith in Haith to get 'er done in 2008-09!

why does 86Cane suck up to manny navarro?

ACCESS DENIED

Yellow...If you could PLEASE talk about the Canes and the CANES only and stop worrying about what I say and do and everyone here would be a LOT happier. Thank U!

ACCESS GRANTED

Lamar Thomas interview, Part III:

http://canespace.typepad.com/canespace/

once you stole sunsentinel blog with a brand stolen from myspace ... old rules no longer apply ...
PUBLIC FIGURE

If you could PLEASE talk about the Canes and the CANES only and stop worrying about what I say and do and everyone here would be a LOT happier. Thank U!

when you wish upon a star
makes no difference who you are
-- jiminy cricket

If you could PLEASE talk about the Canes and the CANES only and stop worrying about what I say and do and everyone here would be a LOT happier. Thank U!

Green...OK, OK, you win. I'm out.

I am going to boycott Manny's blog since you insist. I am also going to advise all Canespace Bloggers to boycott this blog as well.


See ya...

Posted by: SOUP | April 23, 2008 at 06:51 PM

say what you mean ... mean what you say

KEEP YOUR WORD

If you could PLEASE talk about the Canes and the CANES only and stop worrying about what I say and do and everyone here would be a LOT happier. Thank U!

I had invited the UM athletic department and ticket office to snoop around here. I even offered FREE advertising, but they will not even return my emails.

Posted by: 86Cane | April 13, 2008 at 02:52 PM

PERSONA NON GRATA

and the nominees for best women in a drama goes to

who should it be 86cane or soup

i say its a tie

thanks for the laughs green.

"since 2002, the grimy gaturds lost 23 games in the toughest football conference in the nation" - green

since 2004, Duhhh U is 16-16 in conference games in the ACC, the laughing stock league of the BCS era.

"ACC Lacking Victories in BCS Era"
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3407067

ACC = 1-9 in BCS Bowl Games over the past decade???

EMBARASSING

Duhhhh U can't buy an invite to the ACC title game since they've joined a conference with modest competition. We can only imagine what their record would be if they had to play in a 12 team conference with required title game since 92'.

INJURY TO INSULT ON TOP OF MEDIOCRITY

"SEC Success a Constant During BCS Era"
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3406757

SEC = 11-4 in BCS Bowl Games over the past decade

NO COMPARISON

Honorable mentions for BCS Bowl Game records = Pac-10 (8-4), Big Easy (6-4), Big Ten (8-9), and Big 12 (6-8).

DEAD LAST

So are the home team color at Duhhhh U's stadium orange/aqua, black/teal, or green/orange?

SKITTLES FOR DUHHHHH U

Pretty sure it's orange and green, but you could just call it PROFESSIONAL like the others.

Also, I wonder where the SEC would be without ESPN constantly overrating their teams in order to produce more ratings for the 3.8 million SEC games they put on their network. I mean jesus christ. They love them some sec. They even stopped the heisman trophy presentation( which they handed to Tea_Bag 4 weeks beforehand) just to lick the corn out of some old has-been sec coach's bum. Oh well, I guess the proofs in the puddin as Grandma-ma used to say. I'm sure there will be another overrated SEC school playing Ohio St. in the BCS ship. Maybe someday we will have a TRUE playoff system, but until then, I guess the networks will run the show.

16-16 ACC conference game record

Posted by: canesrule | June 24, 2008 at 11:45 PM
since 2002, the grimy gaturd lost 23 games ...
MEDIOCRITY

Posted by: green | June 25, 2008 at 11:16 AM

"since 2002, the grimy gaturds lost 23 games in the toughest football conference in the nation" - green

Posted by: canesrule | June 25, 2008 at 07:48 PM

TWIST WORDS

"toughest conference" = cracker propaganda

Half filled stadium

BORING

Posted by: canesrule | June 24, 2008 at 11:44 PM

one-horse hogtown

BORING

Looking foward to seeing an SEC team win the title once again.

Posted by: canesrule | June 18, 2008 at 11:16 PM
fresno st victorious ...

ALWAYS NEXT SEASON

fresno st upset the apple cart : )

bulldogs beat canes......bulldogs beat canes.....oh how sweet it is to beat the sorry over rated hurricoones!!! good night meami lol

Posted by: georgiadoggie | June 14, 2008 at 10:40 PM
bulldogs beat bulldogs ... bulldogs beat bulldogs

SWEET REVENGE

"I wonder where the SEC would be without ESPN constantly overrating their teams in order to produce more ratings for the 3.8 million SEC games they put on their network." - Duhhhhh U

Interesting theory considering ESPN is affilated with ABC, and that CBS has had the contract for SEC games for the past 11 years now.

Should we blame ESPN for the SEC's 11-4 BCS Bowl Game Record while the ACC has gone 1-9?

No worries all SEC TV contracts end in 2009, and they will start their own network to air 8,700+ hours of yearly sports programs. This will only mean more improvements and yet more expansions of all SEC on-campus stadiums.

Blame your lack of exposure on the reason behind it, not on the networks. Your conference sucks in football and Miami & ACC fans don't tune to watch their own teams play.

FAIR WEATHER SCAPEGOAT

16-16 in ACC play
6-7 including an uno over Nevada
5-7 with no bowl game
Sub #40 Preseason Ranking

ALWAYS NEXT COACH

Why does the herald let this canesrule loser keep posting?

Why does the herald let this canesrule loser keep posting?

Posted by: vincane | June 26, 2008 at 04:00 AM

SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL

where is the football news? we are two months away and no talk about football.

No worries all SEC TV contracts end in 2009

Posted by: canesrule | June 26, 2008 at 12:35 AM
ACC TV contracts expire in 2011 ... negotiations commence in earnest next year ...
$HAKE DOWN

(sec) will start their own network

Posted by: canesrule | June 26, 2008 at 12:35 AM
maybe

ACC Channel on the docket

Blame your lack of exposure

Posted by: canesrule | June 26, 2008 at 12:35 AM
disney networks (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU) televised 11 of 12 games ...
OVEREXPOSURE

Miami & ACC fans don't tune to watch their own teams play.

Posted by: canesrule | June 26, 2008 at 12:35 AM http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com/2008/02/tobacco-road-rivalry-addictive.html

nothing further from the truth ... duke v. carolina = highest rated college basketball ...
U v. f$u ('06 labor day) = ESPN's highest rated college football ...
EVER

http://gtsports.blogspot.com/2006/05/acc-expansion-proves-wise-ajccom.html

The ACC cronies are celebrating and whooping it up at their spring meeting. The ACC dominated the NFL draft with more selections than any other conference - ever, more 1st round picks than anyone - ever, more defensive picks than anyone - ever. Throw in the fact that the ACC had the highest TV ratings of ANY conference last year according to ESPN
-- gtsports.blogspot.com (may 15, 2006)

"The ACC conference has a contract with ABC that runs through 2010 and a long-term deal that places the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl, part of the lucrative Bowl Championship Series."

"When No. 6 Virginia Tech and No. 12 Boston College -- two of the former Big East schools whose defections made expansion possible -- there were roughly 20,000 empty seats."

FEELING TARDY

"Thousands of empty seats surrounded Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe's team as they beat fellow ACC also-ran Georgia Tech"

NO WIN, NO PLACE, AND NO SHOWS

"The SEC game has sold out 13 of 15 seasons and filled stadiums, on average, to 102.3 percent of their capacity. Last year, the title game earned a 4.5 rating despite airing opposite UCLA's upset of No. 2 USC"

FACT vs. BLOGGED OPINIONS

"The ACC's attendance issues, ironically, may also stem from the geographic growth that made the championship game possible. When the ACC added VT, BC and Miami, it changed from a regional cluster of teams to an amalgamation that spread the entire Eastern Seaboard."

ESPN's FAULT ONCE AGAIN

"Problems abound, as evidenced by this season. There are few direct flights from Boston to Jacksonville, and it's an 18-hour drive. Virginia Tech still had 2,000 tickets remaining of its 10,000-ticket allotment"

PILOT ERROR


"When the ACC implemented its expansion plans, Miami and Florida State were expected to dominate the league, so a championship game in Florida made sense. The conference placed the Hurricanes and Seminoles in different divisions, ensuring a possible -- or likely, as most thought -- ratings bonanza in the championship game."

REALITY IS THE PUNCHLINE HERE

"But both programs have stunningly crumbled, detracting from the ACC's football reputation in the process. Miami did not qualify for a bowl this season, and Florida State has lost at least five games each season since the championship debuted."

NOT THE BIG EASY = 12 TEAMS, 2 IN-STATE LOSERS

"All this has led the conference to explore moving the game."

"School athletic directors will discuss Charlotte -- a US Airways hub and within 300 miles of eight ACC schools -- and Tampa as possible replacements."

"It seems to me that if we were playing the game in a location that was more centralized, that fans from the different institutions would come as a walk-up crowd".

MATHEMATICALLY CHALLENGED

35,000+ fans at your home games, and 200+ at your first NCAA B-Ball game in 6 years is not to blame on the location.

WISHFUL THINKING

"where is the football news? we are two months away and no talk about football."

16-16 in ACC play
6-7 including an uno over Nevada
5-7 with no bowl game
Sub #40 Preseason Ranking

ALWAYS NEXT COACH

"Tonight, Donovan will have his 12th player drafted"

BILLY DYNASTY

good night meami lol

Posted by: georgiadoggie | June 14, 2008 at 10:40 PM

leaving on a midnight train to georgia
-- gladys night & the pips

"... a long-term deal that places the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl, part of the lucrative Bowl Championship Series."

Posted by: canesrule | June 26, 2008 at 11:02 AM

HOME OF THE ACC CHAMPION

When the ACC added VT, BC and Miami, it changed from a regional cluster of teams to an amalgamation that spread the entire Eastern Seaboard.

Posted by: canesrule | June 26, 2008 at 11:02 AM
from Miami to boston ... and major markets in-between ...
EASTERN SEABOARD


ACC = pac-10

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