A: Right now, the only thing that I have planned is to advance to the top 8 in EuroChallenge play and win the SM Gold Championship in the Swedish league. I am part of the Norrkoping Dolphins for the remainder of the year and that is the only thing on my mind right now. In Sweden, we are 13-8 and currently 5th out of 12 teams in the league. In EuroChallenge league we are 1-1 and currently in second place out of 4 teams. The way EuroChallenge works is you have 4 teams in a group and each team plays 1 game at home and 1 game away. The top 2 teams in the group advance. In our group this round we have a Russian team, Turkish team, and Ukrainian team. We lost in Russia and won at home against the Turkish team. Hopefully we can keep developing and getting better so we can advance to the top 8! If people are interested, the website is www.eurobasket.com. Go to EUROPE and click on SWEDEN and my team is called Norrkoping Dolphins.
Q: In the first few months after graduating, what lessons did you learn at VMI that you've already drawn on?
From what I've said earlier, people might not see it as an obstacle, but post-graduation was definitely a trying time for me. I had doubts that I would not get picked up by a team and questioned if I was putting too much work in basketball when maybe God had a different calling for me.
I got a lot of help from my host family at VMI (Cheryl, Charlie, Trey, and Cole), Miss Louis Ford, my parents, my family, and my girlfriend (Meighan) and her family, my former teammates (Ron Burks, Michael Sparks, and Stan Okoye), and my former roommates at VMI (Casey Riggs and Dion Mosley). These people were there to support me through all the things that I was going through and when I felt like I was at my worst. With this being said, the lesson that I learned was to always lean on the ones that care about you the most. Anyone that has known me, knows that if I was in the same situation a couple of years ago, I would have kept everything to myself and would not have reached out for the slightest of help. VMI has one of the strongest support systems that I have ever seen and definitely the strongest that I have ever been a part of. Depending on your supporting casts and also, pushing through and having faith, even when you cannot see the end result. When I was a rat at VMI, I always told Mr. Don (late) and Mrs. Ford that when the twins (Chavis and Travis Holmes) and Willie Bell left, I was going to leave VMI right behind them. They always told me that I was a blessing to them and to always fight through tough situations. At the time, I thought that they only meant that for the time I was at VMI. Now I realized they had taught me a valuable life lesson. Without VMI, I feel that I would have given up on my dream that I’ve had since I was a child and turn to something that was easier and less challenging. Just like I was taught at VMI, I would like to pass on to the current Keydets at the Institute. The difficult times that you go through at VMI will not last. However, the things that will last are the characteristics, the developing support group, and the strong men and women that you have been molded into during the 4 years at VMI; they will help you when it comes your time to embark on the things that you have planned post VMI.
Thanks for the time and hope all is well back in Lexington, VA!
Rah Virginia Mil!!!
Keith Gabriel C/O ‘12