Every undrafted player dreams of building their resume overseas or in the D-League and then eventually working their way up to the NBA. This is almost always the goal, but it seldom becomes reality. However, Langston Galloway has been able to do just that ever since making the most of a mid-year call up during his rookie campaign. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.
After not hearing his name called in the 2014 NBA Draft, Galloway grinded his way through the D-League with the Westchester Knicks and ultimately landed a partially guaranteed contract with the New York Knicks. Galloway had two solid years in New York. He averaged 11.3 points per game in his first year and earned Second Team All-Rookie honors. As a sophomore, he was a steady perimeter presence with a 3.5 to 1 assist-to-turnover ratio in his second year.
Galloway recently signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. This brings the Baton Rouge native back to Louisiana to compete in front of his family and friends.
Basketball Insiders caught up with Galloway to discuss his big break with the Knicks, his move back home, how he prepares to go up against the best guards in the league and more.
Basketball Insiders: What mentality did you take into your first 10-day contract with the Knicks during your rookie season? You played well enough to get a second 10-day deal and then a partially guaranteed contract.
Langston Galloway: “My main focus was going out there and competing and just giving it my all. I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accomplish my dreams. I knew, hey, this is pretty much my dream on a plate. I really wanted to showcase what I could do and just play hard, and I think that’s what I went out there and did.”
BI: You scored in double figures in seven of your first 11 games with the Knicks after your call-up. Can describe what your mindset was going into those games?
Galloway: “I just think the opportunity [to score] presented itself a lot from being in the Triangle and being unselfish. I think my teammates at the time, they were definitely unselfish and I just had the hot hand in some of those cases so they kept feeding me the ball. When I had good looks, I definitely tried to take advantage of it and knock down shots and get to the basket and finish whatever I could.”
BI: What would you say has set you apart from all of the other undrafted players who haven’t been able to make it to the NBA and excel the way you have?
Galloway: “I think I am just hungry. I am real hungry for the opportunity to make my dreams come true, and I think every night I carry that chip on my shoulder too. I say, ‘Hey, I want to go out there and be one of the best players on the floor.’ I carry that everywhere I go, no matter if I am working out or playing pickup or anything. I am definitely carrying that chip on my shoulder everywhere I go.”
BI: Since becoming a pro, what part of your game has improved the most as you’ve developed over the last two years?
Galloway: “I think the past few seasons [it is] my playmaking ability – being able to read the floor better and being able to find my teammates whenever I am being aggressive. I think I am always in attack mode, trying to be aggressive and score. But at the same time, when I am aggressive, I’m able to find my teammates in those situations too. My game has definitely blossomed with that.”
BI: What parts of your game have you been working to improve this offseason?
Galloway: “The playmaking ability, that’s probably the biggest thing right now. And just being more consistent, where I’m knocking down the shots when I am open and just taking advantage of the opportunities when I’m going one-on-one against a guy. I’ve definitely been grinding it out this summer, just knowing those unseen hours that I have been putting in are going to pay off this season. I’m definitely excited for training camp and the season to start up.”
BI: Over the last two seasons, who are the toughest guards you have faced off against?
Galloway: “Toughest guys… I mean, there are so many different guys who are so good, but the main two that I have faced off against that have been tough is Steph [Curry] and [Russell] Westbrook. Steph is so good at moving without the ball and definitely when it comes to competing and handling the ball; it’s so tough to try and stop him. Westbrook is a real physical guard, and he is definitely tough. I am always excited to get a chance to play against those guys.”
BI: When going against the best guards in the league like Curry and Westbrook, how do you get yourself locked in and ready to perform at your highest level?
Galloway: “I just have to go out there and show what I can do. I mean, I’ve got a lot to prove. I want to be one of those top guys one day and I gotta go out and prove it to each of the guys that I play against every night. Like, ‘Hey, I am trying to be at that level.’ That’s what I gotta go out there and do.”
BI: How does it feel to join the Pelicans? It’s kind of like a homecoming for you.
Galloway: “Yeah, it’s definitely like a homecoming. I am definitely excited and just trying to help out anywhere that I can. I mean, I am glad to be a part of Coach [Alvin] Gentry’s team. I know they are all excited as well. I’m just trying to play hard and leave it all out there and whatever they need me to do, I am definitely prepared and ready to go.”
BI: What are you looking to bring to the Pelicans this season?
Galloway: “I think my mindset of just going out there and playing hard. I mean, there are so many guys on this team that have that same mindset. But I think on the defensive end, I just want to go out there and help out on that end especially because we can be one of the better teams and really shock a lot of people. We are so young and we are real gifted, so I am definitely excited for us to start playing together.”
BI: Why did you choose the Pelicans in free agency?
Galloway: “It was just the right fit. I think the coaching staff really showed me that they really wanted me. Dell [Demps] definitely presented the opportunity to come back home and get a chance to play in front of my family and friends. That definitely made the transition much easier.”
BI: How do you think your style of play fits in with guys like Jrue Holiday, Buddy Hield, Anthony Davis and the rest of the team?
Galloway: “I think we all have different styles. There are so many different styles, but at the same time I know we all just want to win and that’s what it comes down to. Whatever style we might have, the winning is the main factor that is going to push us all over the edge.”
BI: What are your individual goals this year?
Galloway: “Personally, I just want to go out there and help the team win. I mean, I know my individual goals will definitely take care of themselves with going out there and competing against whoever is the best player on the court and just having a great time. In my mind, making the playoffs is all I care about. That’s all I am thinking about. Just going out there and making the playoffs. I’m just hungry. I think the whole team is hungry, myself included, to just make the playoffs and bring the excitement back down to New Orleans.”
BI: What are the main things that motivate you and keep you focused as you work toward your long-term career goals?
Galloway: “I want to be one of the best players to play at my position one day, and every day I go out and I am out there working hard. I try to prove that and show that – whether I’m on the court by myself or with a coach or playing against somebody. I mean, that’s my mindset every day and I think that is what carries me each and every day to the next day.”
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