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Lackland sergeant to chase All-AF Men's Basketball Team dream

  • Published
  • By Jose T. Garza III
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
A self-described quiet person, Staff Sgt. Artis Gandy, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center administrator, feels like a different person once his size 12 sneakers hit the floor.

This staff sergeant describes the basketball court as his safe heaven - an area where he doesn't think about anything else.

"I am very passionate about the game," he said. "When I am on the court, I can be loud and very vocal."

Gandy will have the opportunity to display his passion for the sport in front of All-Air Force Men's Basketball team coaches, as he will be one of 24 prospects vying for a roster spot during training camp starting Oct. 18 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. 

The final 12-man roster will move on to compete in the Armed Forces Men's Basketball Championships against All-Army, Marine Corps and Navy Teams Nov. 6-14 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. where the Air Force will attempt to capture its eighth consecutive title.

This year will be Gandy's first time trying out for the team. He said work commitments and injuries through the years have kept him from trying-out for a roster spot.

"It is a dream come true to compete with the very best in the Air Force and against the best in the Armed Forces," Gandy said.

The six-foot basketball player's resume includes competing in high school level as well as at the intramural and varsity level on bases during his eight-year Air Force career, with stints at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Osan AB, South Korea and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

To prep for training camp, Gandy goes to the gym after work to lift weights and perform basketball drills, usually finishing around 10 p.m. The extensive work and training days are worth it, he said.

"My body aches every time, but it is worth it," Gandy said. "Making the All-Air Force Men's Basketball Team would be a great accomplishment."

The staff sergeant tries to emulate players Lebron James and Kevin Garnett whenever he works on his game.

"Lebron is a well rounded player on both ends of the court," Gandy said. "I love Kevin Garnett's intensity and his love for defense. I try to emulate his jump shot."
Gandy feels he has the intangibles needed to contribute to the All-Air Force Men's Basketball Team's success.

"I feel I am a good defender on and off the ball," the Jasper, Fla. native said. "I also feel I am good at rebounding and being a leader. I can step up and make shots, get players involved and make everyone better."