Gabe McGlothan didn’t have the most usual path to Grand Canyon University.
In a recent interview with Jordan Hamm on the Brad Cesmat Show, the former state champion with the Basha Bears and local product out of Gilbert detailed his journey to GCU and being part of the first NCAA Tournament team in program history.
Originally committed to play at Army coming out of Basha, McGlothan wanted to redshirt, but he wasn’t able to. Thus, instead of being forced into the program right away, he attended a local prep school named Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut, where he looked to develop his game.
Playing basketball across the country, he had to prove himself in an area where not many people were familiar with him. While McGlothan enjoyed the discipline and learned lots of valuable lessons through the academy at Army, he felt he needed a change.
“I went through that prep year and about halfway through, I ended up leaving (Army). I felt like some things were not really fit for me,” McGlothan said. “I love the military and I loved my time there…It just didn’t seem like the right fit basketball-wise.”
McGlothan finished out the rest of the prep season at Putnam Science Academy, where he had a fresh slate and ended up winning a national title with the program.
“I was blessed to finish out the year there. That was very testing because I needed to get re-recruited and get my name back out there,” McGlothan explained. “It was hard because on the east coast, I wasn’t used to teams like that and I didn’t get much playing time. We actually ended up winning a national championship though so that was pretty nice and that’s when Southeast Missouri State picked me up.”
Southeast Missouri State is a Division I program in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The program plays in the Ohio Valley Conference, and that is where McGlothan got to play his freshman season of college basketball.
Once again, it wasn’t easy. However, it’s a place where he found some of his most growth. After struggling to find his footing, McGlothan hit his stride and found something in himself as a player. He started 11 of the team’s final 12 games in the OVC and had four double-doubles in that span.
He also had a 27-point outburst in a game against Tennessee Tech and finished 10th in the entire conference in rebounding.
“It taught me a lot about my game and what I can grow into,” McGlothan said of his experience at Southeast Missouri State. “It was just the relentlessness that came about it. At the beginning of the year, I was fourth string off the bench and if they had another big man, I would have been redshirted…But by the end of the year, I was starting, I was averaging pretty great numbers, and that was a testament of the player that I could be and I gained a lot of confidence.”
Despite a strong finish to the year, McGlothan once again was looking elsewhere at the end of the year. There were changes within the program and the coaching staff, and McGlothan needed to find his next step. That’s when former GCU coach Dan Majerle called the former Basha product.
The Lopes had recruited McGlothan in high school and during his prep days, but McGlothan felt like the Lopes weren’t seriously interested in him to fit into their system and playing. Majerle admitted that they hadn’t recruited him hard enough, and that’s when the relationship began to form.
McGlothan was attending a Sunday church service and still pondering what to do next with his basketball career. Later on that day, his phone rang. It was Majerle. He wanted to talk with him. McGlothan took it as a sign and hasn’t looked back now that he’s in GCU purple.
After Majerle left the program, McGlothan stayed with new head coach Bryce Drew. He’s averaging 16.7 minutes per game and is another important piece to the Lopes upward rise to get over the hump this season and into March Madness.
From not seeing many minutes at his prep school and while rising from fourth string to a force at Southeast Missouri State, McGlothan is now back home looking to add to his story.
As a person who has relied on his faith to help guide him, McGlothan is embracing every second of this year’s GCU experience.
“It’s been a crazy journey but most of all, it’s taught me to trust in the lord and dive deeper into that faith,” McGlothan said.
Now looking to add to his tale, McGlothan and GCU will look to pull off the massive upset this Saturday against Iowa. McGlothan believes there is reason to not underestimate this Lopes team.
“We’re a little unkown right now,” McGlothan said of this year’s GCU team. “I don’t think people understand how great of a team that we are and the camraderie that we play with and the joy that we have in our hearts, and the toughness. Those three things alone can’t be matched and going against a team like Iowa, we’re not backing down. We’re ready. We’re taking them on and they are one of the better teams in the nation but we think we belong right up there with them.”