Kingston kid galvanizes Gaels

Faulkner’s transfer sparked team revival

Faulkner left the Carleton Ravens dynasty to lead the Gaels in points per game.
Faulkner left the Carleton Ravens dynasty to lead the Gaels in points per game.
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Greg Faulkner regained his passion for basketball by returning to his roots.

A Kingston native, Faulkner returned to the court in his hometown in 2012-13, leading the Gaels’ upstart men’s basketball team in points and rebounds.

After playing two seasons with the powerhouse Carleton Ravens from 2009-11, Faulkner took a year off from school and basketball.

“Basketball wasn’t fun for me anymore — I didn’t enjoy going to the gym everyday,” Faulkner said. “So I took some time … to figure out what I wanted to do and who I was.

“It was probably the best decision that I’ve ever made, ‘cause I’m extremely happy here and loving every minute of it.”

During his year off, Faulkner returned to Kingston and spent time coaching both the senior girls and senior boys teams at Holy Cross C.H.S., his old high school.

Despite a few invitations from Gaels head coach Stephan Barrie, Faulkner said he had no intentions of playing basketball throughout the bulk of last season.

“By the end of the [high school season], I was getting sick of sitting on the sidelines,” Faulkner said. “Everyone who’s important in my life, in terms of family and friends, is in Kingston, so it didn’t make sense to go elsewhere.”

When he started seriously considering returning to OUA basketball last March, it only took a few talks with Barrie and scrimmages with the Gaels for him to make up his mind. Last April, he told Barrie he was on board.

For Faulkner, suiting up for the Gaels meant staying in familiar territory and playing in front of a supportive community.

“People who haven’t got to see me play in the past few years, like high school coaches and family — my grandmother got to come to all the games,” Faulkner said. “It’s really nice seeing those people come out.”

His timely return home restored life to Gaels basketball — a team that was 2-20 without Faulkner last year.

“I’ve been coming to Queen’s games since grade 9, and this year was the first time that the crowd was actually excited,” Faulkner said. “That’s not [just] me — that’s everyone else on our team. We play an exciting style, so it was finally fun for people in Kingston to come watch Queen’s basketball.”

The Gaels finished the 2012-13 campaign at 10-10, highlighted by two narrow victories over Laurier and Laurentian and a thrilling double overtime loss to Ryerson, who were ranked in the CIS top 10.

Faulkner was honoured as an OUA Second-Team All-Star, despite missing six games with a concussion.

“I couldn’t have done it without the other guys on our team, so I kind of look at it as a team award,” Faulkner said.

“We definitely have a solid base to keep moving forward next year, and we have a long summer of working hard to get prepared for next year.”

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