While an impending snowstorm postponed Friday night’s home basketball game with West Central, members of the Galva varsity team were still able to spend some time with a Wildcat legend.

While an impending snowstorm postponed Friday night’s home basketball game with West Central, members of the Galva varsity team were still able to spend some time with a Wildcat legend.

Rich Falk was in town to attend the annual Athletic Wall of Fame ceremony — which went on as scheduled — and his plan was to speak to the team just prior to the game with the Heat. West Central opted not to make the trip due to the forecast, but Falk still spent the better part of an hour in the Wildcats’ locker room sharing his years of basketball wisdom.

“I was lucky enough to live the dream and I came from Galva, Illinois,” Falk told the team. “I never want to forget my roots.”

Falk’s roots include legendary playing careers at Galva High School and Northwestern University, being drafted by the Boston Celtics, coaching at Northwestern and running basketball operations for the Big Ten Conference. 

Falk told the players one of the advantages of growing up in a small town is the opportunity to play multiple sports, adding that many large school athletes specialize in one or two sports these days.

“When I was here, we played four sports — football, basketball, baseball and track,” Falk said. 

The Galva native continues to host summer camps for young basketball players, and preached the importance of playing an all-around game. 

“Even if you’re not getting shots, get every rebound, steal and deflection,” Falk said, noting those effort plays lead to possessions on offense.

“You have to take pride in that. That’s how you earn time,” Falk said.

And pride is one of the four points of an acronym that Falk shared with the players — AFEP. 

It’s a philosophy he’s developed over the years, with help from some of the greatest basketball minds he’s been around:

n A is for attitude. “If you don’t bring the right attitude to the gym every day, you’re not going to make it folks,” Falk said, noting there are three kinds of attitude — positive, negative and indifferent. He said coaches can take a negative attitude and turn it around, but an indifferent attitude is detrimental to a team.

n F is for fundamentals. “You will do the fundamental things that your coach is imparting to you in every game, because you know how important they are,” Falk said. 

n E is for execution. “It’s the most important word in life and the most important thing in athletics. You have to be able to execute the skills of the game, the fundamentals, at any pace and in any situation,” Falk said.

n And back to P for pride. Falk said pride is a byproduct of all three —  a positive attitude, fundamentals and execution.

“It’s a pretty good and simple little philosophy, isn’t it? Falk said.

And while he emphasized the benefits of playing sports because of the “lessons learned,” he said classroom success is the top priority.

“Your number one responsibility to be the best student you can be,” Falk said. “That will open up opportunities, whether it be in sports or other areas of interest.”