By Dan Landau
There’s a Devil in England and a Knight in Ireland right now — FDU alumni from the Devils and Knights basketball teams that is. Former Devils center Ricky Fetske and former Knights center John Galvin both headed across the pond to continue playing basketball.
Fetske signed a contract with the Bradford Dragons in northern England while Galvin is playing for UCD Marian in Dublin, reland. Both graduated in 2011, and wanting to continue to play basketball, found opportunities abroad.
“After playing basketball for FDU for four years, I had aspirations to continue playing competitive basketball at a high level,” says Fetske. After hearing about the Dragons from a friend, he put together a highlight reel and sent it to the coach. A week later, the coach reached out to Fetske, with an offer to play for the Dragons this season.
For Galvin, the opportunity with UCD Marian came through his agent, who sent game tapes to the team and as Galvin says, “the rest is history. I’m half Irish and I have always wanted to visit Ireland,” he added. “So when UCD Marian showed interest in me, it was a no-brainer for me to play for them.”
The Bradford Dragons are part of the English Basketball League, a league with professional, semi-pro, and amateur basketball levels. Playing on the semi-pro level, Fetske is also coaching an amateur team. The UCM Marian is part of the Irish Superleague and are the defending National Cup champions. Galvin is playing on a one-year professional contract with the team.
Basketball definitely is not the same in England and Ireland as it is in the U.S. “The Irish game is very different from the U.S. game,” says Galvin. “It’s nowhere near as athletic as the U.S. game, but in a way, it is much more skillful and team oriented. The Irish game is also a lot more physical because the referees here let a lot of things go.”
The popularity of basketball is on the rise, according to Fetske. “The popular sports are mostly football (soccer), rugby, tennis, and cricket, but basketball is on its way up, as it is being taught to kids at a young age.”
Despite the differences in American/European style of play, both Fetske and Galvin are thoroughly enjoying their chance to play basketball abroad. Fetske says, “Playing basketball is a passion of mine and traveling out of the country was a goal, so to do both at the same time was a dream come true for me. Living in England is the experience of a lifetime.”
“Basketball has been so great to me,” says Galvin. “It took me to FDU where I played for four years, got my college degree, and made lifelong friends. Now, it has taken me to Ireland. It’s amazing what a game can do for someone.”