Langston Galloway’s Confidence Fueling Rise From D-League to Knicks Starting Lineup

by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

“Confident not cocky,” this was the statement vocalized by a soft spoken player at what could be the critical point of his basketball career.

Early this month, Langston Galloway was pouring sweat on the D-League floor roughly 28 miles from The Mecca.  The dream of suiting up for the New York Knicks in a regular season game, playing meaningful minutes, and the opportunity to showcase his talents was literally just a train ride away. 

This past summer, the Westchester Knicks replaced the Erie Bayhawks as the Knicks D-League affiliate.  The Knicks own the team in Westchester, which allows them to mirror the same philosophies as the NBA franchise while developing talent in essentially their backyard. 

For those who follow the Knicks closely remember Galloway’s impressive Summer League stint with the team in Las Vegas.  In the desert is where we caught a glimpse of Galloway’s playmaking abilities on both sides of the floor and more importantly, his cerebral approach to the Triangle Offense.

“Once I saw that I was going to sign with the Knicks in the Summer League, I was like, well, let me look over it and check out what they’ve done in the past and I saw the Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, and I just studied from there and just tried to learn as best I could,” Galloway explained to Knicks.com on Media Day.

Galloway made news by receiving the first call-up in team history when he inked a 10-day contract on January 7.  The date is important, considering the shift in direction from president Phil Jackson after he sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland and waived Samuel Dalembert.  The simple math of two guards out and one new guard in the lineup would lead to an opportunity for the 23-year old from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The same day as signing with the Knicks, the undrafted rookie made the long walk from the locker room to the floor at the Verizon Center to face the red-hot Wizards and John Wall.  As opposed to most arenas, this stroll to the court is much longer in Washington D.C. but Galloway seemed at ease and prepared for his next big step.

Galloway quickly caught the attention of the home crowd in his MSG debut when he launched on the baseline for a thunderous putback jam.  Sure, NBA fans are accustom to highlight reel dunks but a point guard attacking the offensive glass is a special treat and a sign this specific player is out to prove his worth.  11 days later, Galloway replicated the dramatic finish against the Pelicans in his starting debut.  Galloway also became the second Knicks rookie in the last 35 years to score 20-plus points and grab five boards in first career start, according to Elias.

“He is playing with a confidence.  He’s been playing like that when he was down in the D-League and he’s carrying it over to us now,” Carmelo Anthony described Galloway’s performances after the win over New Orleans that snapped a 16-game losing skid.   

Four days after signing a second 10-day contract, Galloway returned to Philadelphia, a second home of sorts where his mother’s side of the family resides and the city he played college ball.  Galloway spent four years at Saint Joseph’s playing for his uncle, Geoff Arnold, who is the assistant coach and under head coach Phil Martelli.  The 6-2 guard is the second all-time leading scorer below another NBA point guard, Jameer Nelson.

Prior to the game, a fellow 10-day contract teammate, Lou Amundson gave his tickets to Galloway to ensure his family and friends could see him in action against the Sixers.  The large group of Galloway supporters witnessed the former Saint Joseph’s product sink an improbable fading 3-pointer from the corner to secure a Knicks road win on Wednesday night.

“To see Langston enjoy that moment and probably even more importantly to see the way the bench and his teammates responded to that moment just says a lot about him and a lot about what we are trying to do and what we are trying to be,” head coach Derek Fisher stated following the win.

The Knicks won three straight when Galloway was inserted into the starting lineup. 

“This has definitely been a long journey and I’m glad to be here,” Galloway confessed.

The sports narratives we all love feature the underdog achieving great success in adverse times.  However, confidence is a common theme and an important takeaway throughout this unfinished story.  With significant court time and an opportunity to shine, the best of Galloway could be on the horizon. 

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