by Joe Licandro
When Greg Bosl puts on warm-up suit in the locker room before every game, he knows he probably will not have to take it off. But he does not mind one bit because the 6’1″ junior point guard has been living out a dream as a walk-on for the University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team.
Like many Division I walk-ons at major college programs, Bosl could have played at a smaller Division II or Division III school. But for a fierce competitor who played his high school basketball at traditional powerhouse St. Dominic’s in Long Island, New York, – the same high school that current University of Louisville and former Boston Celtics head basketball coach Rick Pitino attended – Bosl wanted the opportunity to show he belonged with the best players in the country at the collegiate level. In the spring of his senior year, Bosl chose to follow his sister Christine, a 1999 graduate, and attend Notre Dame.
“After high school, I didn’t want to play Division III ball,” said Bosl. “I wanted to play Division I, but I wasn’t quite good enough to make a team. I didn’t try out my freshman year here because I wasn’t sure yet how much I wanted to play. Sophomore year I missed basketball so much that I decided to try out, but I got cut. Before this year, I was on and off about trying out, but some of the guys on the team let me know that they might need a point guard so I decided to give it one last shot. Four days before fall break, I got a call that I was going to Barbados with the team for preseason games.”
Before making the decision to try out, Bosl already had an appreciation for what walking-on would entail. His older brother Mike walked-on at the Villanova University from 1998-1999. But whereas Mike had a difficult experience on a team that failed to live up to expectations, Greg’s experience has been totally positive from the start.
“My brother has told me how lucky I am to be on a team that is so close-knit and where everyone is treated the same from the star players to the walk-ons,” said Bosl. “Luckily, I came into the team knowing some of the guys on the team already, but still I was a little nervous before the Barbados trip. They had been practicing for a while, and here I come in out of nowhere. They could have excluded me, but they didn’t. From the very beginning, they made me feel right at home.”
Walk-ons often go unnoticed and under appreciated. Their brief appearance at the end of games usually means the final result has long been decided. Like every scholarship player though, walk-ons must get up early for weight lifting and condition workouts, film sessions, and exhausting practices only without the glory. Although fans may not find his name in every box score, Bosl’s teammates recognize the vital contributions he has made to the team.
“Greg works hard every single day at making us better,” said senior co-captain Tom Timmermans. ” He’s just as important as anyone else on the team. He has such a positive attitude and a great sense of humor.”
Although Bosl understands he will likely not receive significant minutes on the court, he is comfortable with his role on the team and hopes he will have this same opportunity again next year.
“It doesn’t bother me that I’m probably not going to play,” said Bosl. “I’m happy each and every day. I understand my role on the team. I’m here to push the guys in practice, play my best defense and distribute the ball. Hopefully, I will be able to do this again next year.”
Until Notre Dame’s upset win over then fifth-ranked Connecticut, this has been a difficult season for Notre Dame. Despite the team’s struggles and disappointing performances, Bosl remains optimistic that the Irish can find a way into the NCAA Tournament.
“We haven’t played up to our potential this year. There’s enough talent on this team to beat anyone in the country,” said Bosl. “We just need to play consistently over the course of a few games and put a string of wins together. It’s going to be a tough road for us to make it to the tournament, but we know that. I honestly believe we can do it. We have a chance to win the rest of our games this season and make a strong showing in the Big East.”
Bosl, a finance major, has an interest in possibly pursuing coaching when his playing days are over at Notre Dame. As for right now, he is going to enjoy every minute of his time on the team.
“This has been a dream come true for me,” said Bosl. “I’ve had an opportunity that most people will never have in their lives. I’m such a fan of college basketball and now I get to sit two feet away from the court for every game. Traveling around the country and playing basketball with twelve of my closest friends is something I will always remember and be telling my kids some day.”