Gaekwad is the key to Pacer boys basketball success


Sporting events are not won solely based off of raw talent and pure athleticism. Far from it, in fact. It’s team chemistry, x’s and o’s, extra hours, and above all, behind the scenes work that make the difference between winning and losing a game. As the Pacer varsity boys basketball team kicks of their 2014-2015 campaign, it’s imperative to acknowledge the unsung hero of their squad; team manager Alex Gaekwad.

A senior who has been involved with the program in all of his four years of high school, Gaekwad does the dirty work that goes unnoticed and has commitment to the team that runs as deep as or deeper than that of any other member.

He practices with the team, keeps stats, films and analyzes upcoming opponents and travels as well. It’s time to give him some well-deserved recognition.

“If every team had a manager like Alex Gaekwad, every team would be more successful,” said athletic director Ian Lamont.

Though he does his job without pay or play, he still receives a varsity letter and gets to partake in team dinners and travel granted by the athletic stipend to the program.

“His job is endless and payless. If a player is sick or hurt in practice, Alex will jump in and scrimmage with the team,” said Lamont. “That says a lot about his character.”

‘He’ll be successful in whatever he does because of his experience as manager.”

An honor student and committed athlete, Gaekwad was a pleasure to sit down and talk with about his role on the team.

He offered a nice explanation as to how he became the team manager in the first place.

“I played through sophomore year summer ball when Coach Walker came to me and said I was fighting an uphill battle and it didn’t look like I was having a good time. He told me that I was a smart guy but the team might not have a place for me.”

“It was a tough pill to swallow but I never quit. I still shot through the rest of summer and come last fall, Dane tells me the team needed a manager and I was his first choice and I jumped at the offer.”

Easily the most compelling segment of our discussion, his insight affirmed my perception of him as an exemplary leader. His ability to have unwavering faith in his passion while still being able to confront brutal facts about his involvement with it highlights how true and genuine a guy he is.

It’s also clear as to how much Gaekwad loves his role.

“I love basketball and I want to be around the game as much has possible, whether it be playing or not. I take pride in what I do.”

A knowledgeable follower of all levels of basketball, Gaekwad is a borderline expert on the game.

Offering insight on his team’s upcoming season, he predicted that, “We have the potential to get to the state tournament and the Chiles Center. It’s a feasible goal.”

Through his efforts, he has more than earned the respect of his teammates and friends.

“He does everything right,” said senior wing Jake Spurgeon.

His close friend Kyle Delfatti added, “He takes himself and his work so seriously. He puts so much outside effort into it.”

As we concluded our interview, it was fun to poke at the dynamic between himself and his brother, varsity point guard Ian Gaekwad.

“Our relationship is professional,” Gaekwad [Alex] said. “If anything, I’m hard on him. We’ve been out in the backyard playing 1-on-1 ever since we both could. I want to see him do well just like everyone else”

For Gaekwad, his next goal is to manage the basketball team at whichever college he attends.

His first choice? The University of Michigan.

But in the meantime, Gaekwad will help the basketball team reel in wins this winter.

“I just consider myself another piece of the puzzle,” said Gaekwad. “I want the team to win.”

And whenever the basketball team wins, be sure to designate a portion of the credit to Gaekwad.