Begley happy to finish

By Lawrence Bailey

While a lot of the men’s basketball talent at the U of C is homegrown, guard Adam Begley bucked the trend. The North Vancouver native used a year in his hometown at Capilano College as a springboard to a spot on the Dinos.

"My college coach played for [then Dinos Assistant Coach] Gary Howard for five years and I wanted to leave Capilano College, so he talked to Cory [Russell, then Dinos Head Coach] and I got invited to an ID camp. After seeing me play, Cory offered me a spot," he said.

His first year was a disappointing one for the Dinos, however Begley acknowledges his game improved immensely in the new environment.

"My shot got a lot better once I came out here," he explained. "In fact, I pretty much became a pure shooter thanks to all the individual workouts I did with Gary Howard."

Howard, a former Dinos Head Coach himself, was a great influence on Begley, helping him improve his game to the point where he was starting for the 1999/2000 season. The added responsibility suited "Begs" just fine as he hit from long range with amazing consistency, finishing first in the conference in three point percentage.

The next year, Russell was out and so was Begley’s starting spot. New Head Coach Dan Vanhooren had second-year star John Riad in the backcourt with highly touted rookie Whit Hornsberger. The adjustment was difficult for Begley.

"They were really different systems. With Cory, we got better quality shots because we’d work it around and use the shot clock. Teams don’t want to play defence for 20–30 seconds," he explained. "Now it’s a lot more freelance and it’s tougher to get shots because the ball goes up quicker. It meant we were a higher scoring team, but we also needed to pick up the defense."

Injuries to a variety of his teammates helped bolster Begley’s playing time by the end of the season, but come the start of the 2001/02 season he found himself even further down the backcourt depth chart.

"It’s was frustrating not to as much as I wanted to play or thought I deserved to," the sharpshooter recalled. "But you just have to realize that you’re lucky to even play university-level basketball. There are a lot of people who never get that opportunity. I accepted it, but it was still really frustrating."

After seeing very limited action all season, Begley was given a green light and a ton of playing time on Senior Night, the Dinos last home game of the year. He responded with a career-high 16 points, leading the team to a convincing victory.

"Before the game Dan said get the older guys some shots," Begley said. "It was awesome. It was a great feeling that night to play with all the older guys. We all played really well and it was a great feeling to end it that way."

With one year left on a BA in Leisure and Tourism in Society, Begley will stick around campus for a little while, but hopes to eventually get into golf course management-his other athletic passion.

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