By John Falduto
CLEMSON – Recalling exactly how you felt at a specific point in time a few years ago is a challenge for most individuals, but Clemson guard Brevin Galloway will never forget how things went down on the night of November 11th, 2021, when he was a member of the Boston College men’s basketball team.
It was the Eagles’ season-opener against Dartmouth, the very first game of a crucial season for the sixth-year guard who was coming off a torn ACL four games into his senior season at College of Charleston the year prior.
“I went into the training room after the game and I was crying and hitting the wall because I was so pissed off at the world. I was like, ‘I can’t catch a break.’”
Galloway had just been told he had completely torn his meniscus, his third major knee injury in as many years. For many athletes, that usually spells the end of their playing career, whether it’s their choice or not. Brevin was five minutes away from making that decision for himself.
“I came back home crying and I told my girlfriend (now fiancée, Kayla Santos) that I was about to call Coach (Earl) Grant and tell him that I’m done with basketball, and I’ll be a Grad Assistant.”
For the next five minutes, the couple sat in the room and listed out the pros and the cons of quitting the game he loved.
“I ended up choosing to keep fighting and keep going along with it because I had made it this far, but I really almost gave in…I was really almost five minutes away from just calling it quits from basketball for good because of everything I had been through within 18 months. I couldn’t do it anymore, mentally or physically.”
Prior to his collegiate career, Galloway was a star for T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson before enrolling at Seneca his senior year. At Seneca, he averaged 20 points, six rebounds and five assists per game, good for All-State, All-Region and All-Area honors.
Still, however, it wasn’t enough to afford him his dream of playing ball down the road at Clemson, where he had gone to countless games and camps growing up.
He signed with College of Charleston, where former Clemson assistant Earl Grant had been serving as the head coach since 2014. The two had previously gotten to know each other through those Clemson basketball camps Brevin attended growing up, making the feeling of familiarity a source of comfort for the young guard.
It was just seven games into his redshirt freshman season at College of Charleston that he suffered a torn hamstring and four games into his senior season that he suffered the ACL tear. From there, his mental health was sent spiraling out of control.
“I was really fighting for my life. I had gained a whole bunch of weight, I was suffering from suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety… my mental health was the lowest it has ever been.”
He points to his fiancée, and the hard but honest conversations they would have, as the biggest help in overcoming those struggles on a day-to-day basis.
“Once I started expressing myself, it started to get a little bit easier in terms of dealing with the day-to-day ups and downs. I had to realize that life isn’t going to be beautiful every day and that there’s going to be adversity you have to face and overcome.”
“Together, we pretty much came to the agreement that no matter what situation we found ourselves in, we were always going to try and find the positive out of it because of how easy it is to just melt down, cry and complain about things whenever you’re in a bad position.”
Galloway would eventually end up back under Coach Grant’s guidance, but this time in Chestnut Hill. Grant had taken the head coaching job at Boston College and needed guys he knew he could trust to fill out the roster, and a veteran leader like Galloway fit the bill better than most. The new environment and new situation sparked some life into the then sixth-year guard, and before long, he was dropping weight and nearing full strength.
In a preseason scrimmage against Marquette, he tweaked his knee, but did not think much of it at the time. A few weeks later came the meniscus tear on opening night, November 11th, 2021.
“I was really messed up in the head again, emotionally, because everything was pretty much repeated again from when I tore my ACL.”
Galloway assumed his collegiate career was finished following the conclusion of the 2021-22 season until he saw a Tweet from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, suggesting that he was potentially eligible for a seventh and final season between his “COVID” year and the timing of his injuries. Two gut-wrenching weeks later, he got final clearance from the NCAA.
Immediately, he called Clemson head coach Brad Brownell and told him that he “needed to be a Tiger” in his final season and made his case as to why he was the perfect piece to fit in with returning players PJ Hall, Hunter Tyson, Chase Hunter, and Alex Hemenway.
Once a scholarship spot opened a few weeks later, the Anderson native immediately made the announcement on social media and was on the next flight home.
Galloway has since started in 28 games for Clemson this season and is one of four double-digit scorers on the all-time ACC-winningest team in program history.
Two weeks ago, he posted a career-high 28 points on 7-9 FG and 4-5 from behind the arc to lead the Tigers to a 96-71 victory in a critical ACC matchup at NC State, a must-win to keep Clemson’s NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
“I was so emotional after that game because I honestly never thought I would beat my career high (27), which I got back at Charleston when I was fully healthy. To be able to get my career high, especially in a Clemson uniform, was really, really special, and definitely my favorite night in my college career so far.”
“The last two years, I was just happy to get 13 points and contribute in any way I could. So to have that one night gave me so much life and so much confidence going forward because I was like ‘hey, I can do this again’ after so many setbacks and my mind being filled with so many doubts and negative thoughts.”
Wearing a Clemson Tiger uniform night in and night out this season fulfilled a lifelong dream for the hometown kid, and he’d be the first to tell you to take five minutes before making that phone call and giving up on the dreams you’ve worked your entire life for.
His story shows that you truly never know how bright the light at the end of the tunnel might be; perhaps, you might even be a part of making history.
Listen to The Tigers play in the ACC Tournament this week, on The ROAR!