Love & basketball on campus & abroad

Lisa Minutillo and Greg Faulkner: their life in France and at Queen's

Faulkner (left) and Muntillo (right).
Faulkner (left) and Muntillo (right).
Credit: 
Supplied by Lisa Muntillo

For former Queen’s couple Lisa Minutillo and Greg Faulkner, basketball was always intrinsically tied to their relationship.

In fact, when they met on campus, they were playing for their respective Queen’s basketball teams.

“I was working at Queen’s Sports Camp [in the summer before third year] and I was given the opportunity to run the basketball camp,” Minutillo told The Journal. “The men’s basketball team came in one morning to help up with running stations.”

“I chose Lisa’s station because I thought she was the prettiest and wanted to talk to her,” Faulkner added.

From there, they ran into each other at Ale House during Frosh Week before their third year. Minutillo said she was still hesitant about Faulkner. 

“Ale was having a glow-in-the-dark paint party and Greg asked me for some of my paint and I bluntly said no,” Minutillo said. “But somehow we still ended up together.”

For their last couple years at Queen’s, basketball played a fundamental role in the development of their relationship. 

“To have someone you are dating be passionate about something that you’re passionate about is an amazing feeling. [We’re] able to help each other be better players, coaches and fans because we both understand and enjoy the game,” Mintuillo commented.

Faulkner echoed her thoughts. “We had the same time off and were busy at the same time, [and] that scheduling allowed for two people with pretty chaotic lives to find time for each other.” 

“We both understood the commitment necessary to play, and we were able to support each other through the highs and lows of a long season,” he continued. 

Minutillo and Faulkner’s love story and relationship with basketball didn’t stop after they graduated from Queen’s in 2015. Coincidence or not, both of them took different paths to reach their similar dreams of playing basketball in Europe.

Faulkner said he knew playing in Europe would be an option for him after basketball at Queen’s. Nonetheless, he experienced some setbacks along the way.

“I had shoulder surgery between my fourth and fifth year at Queen’s, but still went to Macedonia to play in the Adriatic League after my final year of eligibility,” he said.  “I reinjured my shoulder in Macedonia and had to return to Canada to rehab before finding a contract in France the following year.”

Although Minutillo’s path towards playing basketball overseas wasn’t as direct as her partner’s, it’s similarly where she currently finds herself. When Faulkner was in his first stint as a pro in Macedonia, Minutillo taught at an international school in Germany. 

When her boyfriend moved to France for his next contract with US Laval, she took this opportunity as well.

“I moved to France because when we talked about moving to Europe, we had imagined doing it together. I was in a small town in Germany and Greg was in a small town in France and it ended up being harder to visit each other than we originally anticipated” Minutillo said.

While in France, Minutillo was given the opportunity to coach. By her second year in the country, the head coach of the team asked if she had any interest in returning to the court as a player for US St. Berthevin. 

 “Getting back into shape was challenging,” she said, “but it was definitely worth it.”

Currently, Minutillo and Faulkner are settled together in Europe and enjoying it.

“Things have been really good; any time I am playing basketball things are good, getting paid to do it is a nice bonus,” Faulkner said. He added he really enjoys being in Europe.  

“We have had the opportunity to visit a lot of really different places — our favourite being Amsterdam, Paris, Munich and Salzburg,” Faulkner said.

Minutillo also commented on the benefits of living in Europe.

“European history is so rich and it is so readily available in towns we visit. On a walk, you can stumble upon castles and old mills, fortress walls and monuments.”

The two agreed that a struggle for them is the time zone difference and being able to keep up with what’s going on back home. 

“The timing of basketball games back home [isn’t ideal],” Faulkner joked. “France is six hours ahead of Ontario, and so most games don’t start until two in the morning.”

Throughout all of this, Minutillo and Faulkner’s love and support for Queen’s basketball hasn’t wavered since they graduated.

“We will watch both Queen’s basketball teams play, so we are often up late on Friday and Saturday nights to stream the games,” Minutillo said.

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