Chris Gaston’s first season as a professional basketball player was far from a smooth ride. The former Fordham University men’s hoops star ended up playing for four different teams in three different countries after an injury-plagued senior year with the Rams.
The 6-foot-7 Gaston started last Fall with Leones de Ponce in Puerto Rico. He felt he couldn’t play at his best because his knee still wasn’t at 100 percent after getting arthroscopic surgery in November of 20102, the start his final season with the Rams. Gaston averaged 3.6 points in 8.8 minutes of play per contest to help Leones reach the title game.
Gaston left for Asseco in Poland when the season concluded, but never played for the club because he was having troubling getting paid. It led to him making a short stop in Uruguay to play for Goes, with another season in Puerto Rico set to start soon. He returned, asked for a trade and landed with Mayaguez.
The process and the instability served as a learning experience, despite the hectic nature. Gaston didn’t think he was ready for what he encountered the first time around on and off the court.. He learned just how serious being a professional athlete is. You have to eat right, work out consistently and be in shape. His understanding of what it takes to be successful is much better now.
“It was tough,” Gaston said. “It was my first year going to be a professional. I didn’t know how to be a professional at first. It was my first year. I learned what I had to do.”
He wished he had been able to do more in his final season at Fordham, after losing a month early on to a knee injury. Gaston the Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Yeats in 2010, matured into one of the conferences’ best players. He was a double-double machine as junior, but saw his stats dip after the injury. Gatson went from averaging 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds to 14.4 points and 7.5 boards. Fordham again struggled.
“It’s not how I wanted to end my senior year that’s for sure,” he said. “It was really tough. I had a lot of high expectations going into the year. I got hurt the first game of the season. That’s not how I wanted it to do.”
Gaston watched Fordham mens’ basketball games whenever he could last season. He was impressed with its young talent, especially rising sophomore guard Jon Severe. Gaston like most Rams fans believes better days could be on the horizon if they can have some continuity.
“They just need to keep those guys around,” he said. “Guys can’t transfer. They have to keep the same core group for four years. If Severe gets people around him. I think they are going to be alright in a couple of years.”
The versatile forward appeared back to be on track himself. He appeared to be in old form while playing on the New York City streetball circuit this summer at the Tri-State Classic, Dyckman, and Hoops in the Sun. Gaston was making jumpers, controlling the boards and driving to the basket like a guard. It’s all the things Ram fans were accustomed to seeing from him.
Gaston is just happy to still be playing at a high level and said he will suit up in France, Japan or Israel. The potential step up in competition shows his career is progressing.
“It means I am doing what I’m suppose to do,” Gaston said. “I’m doing the right things and people are seeing that.”