Feb. 15, 2019

Hoops star juggles family, school and sports as Dinos wrap up perfect season

Balancing law school and basketball is a tall order but Brett Layton is up to the task

When first-year law student Brett Layton walks into a room, the first thing you notice is his height. At six foot eight inches, the University of Calgary student stands about a foot higher than the average person. The second thing you notice is how unassuming he is. Sure, he is one of the stars of the Dinos men’s basketball team, which just went 20-0 in the regular season for the first time in history, but he is very humble when he accepts your congratulations.

What is really amazing about Layton is that he can balance his first year of law school, basketball, and his growing family: he welcomed his second child to the world just before Christmas.

“I wrote an exam on Friday, my wife had our son on the weekend, and then I wrote another exam on Monday,” says Layton.

Brett Layton

Brett Layton balances law school, a growing family, and basketball

David Moll

Support key to make it all work

Layton has a lot of support off the court, and is able to juggle competing demands through the help of his classmates and professors (when he has to miss class due to team commitments), and unique travel arrangements when the team is competing on the road.

“There have been a few special trips I’ve made to make it to a game,” says Layton. “For a Friday evening game in Edmonton, I was in class until noon, and then my parents drove me north to make it to the game on time. During our block course in January, I finished my moot and then flew to Abbotsford for the game.”

Travel arrangements and support from friends and faculty aside, Layton has a very simple way to balance everything. “When I’m playing basketball, I don’t think about law school. When I’m in class, I don’t think about basketball.”

When asked what separates Layton from his teammates, coach Dan Vanhooren puts it this way: “Brett isn’t separate. He fits really well with our culture and players. He is humble, works hard and has a great sense of humour. The fact that he has all of those things in his life and he has the humility to fit in well with us says everything.” 

One phone call helped him decide

While studying and playing basketball at Mount Royal University, Layton was contemplating his next move. UCalgary Law dean Ian Holloway saw Layton on a CTV Athlete of the Week segment, in which he mentioned the possibility of law school.

“I called the president of MRU and asked him to get me Layton’s contact information,” says Holloway. “I reached out to talk to him about why he should choose our law school, and the rest is history.”

“Dean Holloway really made it an easy decision, and I didn’t want to uproot my family,” adds Layton.

Layton is taking everything one year at a time, but has narrowed down his potential areas of focus for his future law career. “I’m thinking about criminal law, but I also like litigation, and maybe family law.”

But first, there’s the matter of the basketball playoffs. The Dinos are the defending national champions and looking to qualify for the U SPORTS Final 8 back in Halifax next month. The Dinos begin their playoff quest Feb. 15 to 17 in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final weekend at the Jack Simpson Gym against Winnipeg. Schedule and ticket information are available on the Dinos website