In December 2008, during his residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Gabe Lewullis applied for a fellowship at an orthopedic institute in Southern California, where he sat down with an interviewer who happened to be a UCLA alum. Unfortunately the handshake was the highlight of the meeting.
"I kind of got the feeling that I wasn't going to get in there," Lewullis says. "Maybe it was my credentialing, but I have a feeling it had something to do with basketball."
The name Lewullis still stirs up bad memories for UCLA alumni 14 years after Lewullis, then a freshman at Princeton, starred in one of the most stunning upsets in NCAA tournament history.
With the Tigers and the defending national champion Bruins tied at 41 and six seconds remaining in their first-round game in Indianapolis, Lewullis, a 6' 6" forward, slipped behind defender Charles O'Bannon, caught a pass from teammate Steve Goodrich and banked home the game-winning layup, ending the Bruins' title defense earlier than anyone could have anticipated. (The Tigers fell in the next round to Mississippi State.)
Away from the ire of UCLA fans, the memory of 13th-seeded Princeton's triumph has opened more doors for Lewullis than it has closed. Starting on Aug. 1, Lewullis, 33, will begin an orthopedic sports medicine fellowship at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. There he'll work closely with Harvard athletics—apparently a less awkward pairing of rivals—and assist Brian McKeon, the Celtics' team physician both on the court and in the operating room. Lewullis will attend games and work with the players; basically doing what he truly wants to do: treat athletes.
"I think I can offer something that not every doctor can offer their patients," Lewullis says. "I've been there, I've been on arguably one of the biggest stages of athletics."