The Basketball Club is one of the more recently formed sports clubs at the University. This makes its stories of success all the more impressive. The Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA), or the Glasgow University Athletic Club (GUAC) as it was known then, went into the post-war years with just 20 affiliated clubs. However, by the 1980s it had twice that number. The earliest of the new additions was basketball, which was affiliated as a section on the 12th March 1947, although a club had been in existence for some time.
The basketball club performed well in its first few years of affiliation, winning the league for three years running and producing internationalists in J. R. Davis, D. Quayle and J. Hutchison, although the club’s best player was arguably Clayton Roberts, an American. In 1952 to ‘53, devoid of their American and Canadian stars, the team fell to the bottom of the league. However, victory was again achieved in 1961 to 1962 and in 1975 to 1976 when the club rose to the top of the league once more.
Fifty-five years on from the original affiliation with GUSA the club has gone through much expansion and growth, and a women’s club has also been added to the mix.
Arguably the last few years have been the most successful in the club’s history. The men’s club entered the senior national league in 2010 for the first time. They finished in fourth place in the regular season and gained a playoff semi-final spot. In 2010, the first team also won their first BUCS title in over twenty-five years and secured a place in the BUCS northern premier conference, becoming the first team in Glasgow’s history to reach this standard.
The second team has also performed well winning a BUCS conference in only their third season of existence and finishing in third place in the regional Strathclyde league. The success of the club has meant that the popularity soared so that a third men’s team has been launched to cope with the demand.
The women’s club has similarly had much success in the last few years. Again due to increasing popularity and demand a second team was entered into BUCS Division 3 in 2011. The team placed well for the first year in the competition. In 2011 to 2012 the first women’s team did incredibly well. They placed at the top of BUCS Division One and only lost to Nottingham by one point in overtime in the Premier Division playoffs, narrowly missing out on promotion. The first team also placed second in the SLBA league, in the same season.
However, there is also a more recreational side to the club. The women’s training sessions which cater to all levels- training is on Tuesday and Friday evenings. The men’s club offers a drop-in session on a Friday afternoon in the Stevenson building, for players of all abilities. So even if you’re more of a Bugs Bunny than a Michael Jordan you can still get involved.
Hopefully the Glasgow University Basketball Club will continue to be a dominant force in British University basketball in the future. We have come a long way from the original affiliation in 1947 and the club, with increasing popularity and membership, becomes stronger every year.