TideIllustrated – More than just words: Gurley’s posts reveal his true character


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Everything you need to know about Noah Gurley is written in black Sharpie.

Normally a quiet leader on and off the floor, Gurley uses his shoes to express who he really is on the court. On both of his sneakers, the senior writes several memories that he will review from time to time. The brief notes and statements reflect more than just who’s on the basketball court; it also portrays who Gurley is – the son of a preacher who was born in South Carolina.

“The first thing I wrote on my shoe was ‘All work, no luck’ to motivate myself to work in the games,” Gurley said. “It’s realizing that things aren’t going to happen, you have to let them happen. … Usually I write ‘God’s Child’, I write ‘TGBTG’, Glory to God and then ‘Everything counts’ on the last day”

“I grew up in a church and my dad was a pastor so I always write little things like this to remind me I’m blessed. When I’m frustrated or doing something I just look at my shoes. It’s just a good memory for me.”

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When Gurley moved to Fayette County, Georgia, he was already deeply involved in the church, spending every Sunday and Wednesday learning the gospel while watching his father preach.

It piqued Gurley’s interest in getting further involved with the church as he took on multiple roles of a youth deacon, manned the camera, and yes, even tried out to be the church’s drummer.

“It didn’t work out, I didn’t practice enough,” Gurley said of his short-lived career as a percussionist. “To be honest, it was good because a lot of kids my age and younger get out and go through an independence phase. You know when your dad preaches you have to listen. It was very inspiring to see him get up there and preach.”

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The hours he spent in church listening to his father’s sermons had permeated Gurley’s life, including basketball. With the striker being named one of the team’s captains, Gurley turned to his faith and his family to help him adjust to the new role.

“I’m just trying to expand my knowledge of leadership because I don’t know everything,” Gurley said. “My dad and my mom, who were the bureau chief in Atlanta, so they just gave me their knowledge and I just try to apply it in whatever way I can. … (Alabama) is a family, so it “It’s not that hard. I haven’t butted heads with anyone. They told me they look up to me, so I’m just trying to help them in any way I can.”

According to Alabama head coach Nate Oats, Gurley’s contributions as a leader have helped a young Alabama team stay on track through the trials and tribulations it has faced this season. Ahead of the 2022 season, Oats challenged the forward to be more vocal with the team by holding players accountable in practice and mentoring the team’s freshmen.

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Oats said he has already seen an improvement from last season to this season, helping Alabama to its best ranking in more than 20 seasons.

“It’s been a lot better,” Oats said of Gurley’s leadership. “I told him, ‘You have a lot of knowledge and have played a lot of college basketball games. These freshmen are looking for guys who have college experience.’ As long as he plays selflessly and plays hard, guys will respect him.… He’s in the gym as much as anyone on this team. He’s grown up and starting to speak out, be more vocal, be a better leader and we must.”


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