Gambles In the Right Place at the Right Time

Bloomington - After two years of college basketball, Steven Gambles was content to turn his attention to being a full-time student. But a "love of the game" convinced him to check with the IU staff about walking on, and now he's the most recent addition to the IU roster...

Bloomington – Steven Gambles thought his college basketball journey was over.

The 2005 graduate of Indianapolis' North Central H.S. spent the 2005-06 season at IUPUI as a redshirt before transferring the following year to Lambuth University, a NAIA program in Jackson, Tenn. Gambles averaged 3.7 points and 2.5 rebounds on a team that went 25-8 and competed in the NAIA postseason tournament.

But following his freshman season, Gambles opted to return to his home state and enroll at IU, presumably putting any thoughts of continuing his basketball career to rest.

"Being a student and an athlete are two separate things, but being a student-athlete is a big responsibility," Gambles said. "So being a student at first was good enough to me."

So Gambles did just that. For first time in a long time, Gambles didn't play any organized basketball and instead focused on working towards his psychology degree as one of 30,000-plus IU-Bloomington students.

But things changed over the summer. After the change of basketball coaches and a near complete turnover of the IU roster, new IU coach Tom Crean was looking everywhere for players. He found one with some actual Division I experience on the IU campus in Gambles, and now he's one of five walk-ons of the Hoosier roster.

"I was in the right place at the right time being a student here," Gambles said. "I wasn't really hoping for anything, but I just happened to be in the right situation."

Gambles said he initiated contact with the IU coaching staff to see if it would be a possibility to join the team as a walk-on, and after going through team tryouts he was officially added to the roster last week.

"I have a love for the game, so I wanted to give it a shot," Gambles said.

With the start of practice still a week away, Gambles has no idea what sort of impact he'll be able to make to the team. He's listed as a 6-4, 220-pound forward, and the team is so devoid of frontcourt players there could be a chance for him to contribute in some fashion once he's eligible to play second semester.

Gambles said he'd certainly welcome that opportunity, but for now he's content to do anything he can on the court or off to help.

"My role is whatever the team needs me to do on or off the court," Gambles said. "Whether it's getting water, getting minutes or going hard in practice everyday, I'll go through it with them."

While Indiana apparently had a handful of players on last year's team that weren't overly enthusiastic about living up to the standards of past IU players and teams, Gambles says he has a true appreciation for the opportunity he has and the responsibility that comes with it.

It's something he plans to take full advantage of now that he's on the IU roster.

"It's a great opportunity for me, a blessing," Gambles said. "I couldn't have written a better story for myself."

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