Travel team profile: Middlesex Magic

Mike Crotty, Jr. has taken the Middlesex Magic program that his late father started and made it even better. His father is still there in spirit, and his son has undeniable influences from him that he is quick to cite. He would be proud of what his son has done with the program thus far.

The program has seen its junior teams win two straight Massachusetts AAU titles, as well as a championship in a bracket of the Hall of Fame National Invitational a couple of years ago and a runner-up finish in an earlier Hall of Fame event run by Basketbull. But more than the winning, Crotty coaches his kids hard and really connects with them. To that end, he will have some former players at his upcoming wedding and said he would love to have more.

Crotty, who has lived quite the basketball life at a young age, also has unique qualifications among his fellow travel team coaches. He was a two-time All-American at Williams College and won a national championship while there, starting every game in his four years at one of the best academic schools in the country. He knows what it takes to get where these players want to be, and he probably has as much talent as he’s ever had this time around on his oldest team. There’s also good talent right behind them.

He has good frontcourt options, starting with school teammates A.J. Brodeur (6’8″ So. PF, Northborough (MA) Northfield Mount Hermon) and Collin McManus (6’10” Jr. PF-C, Bedford (NH) Northfield Mount Hermon). Brodeur is already their best post player, as he’s very fundamentally sound and can not only score, but will defend and rebound as well. McManus is still a ways from his ceiling but has continued to progress since he first arrived at the school. Right behind them are Phil Leotsakos (6’6″ Sr. SF-PF, Dorchester (MA) BC High), who will prep at Bridgton Academy next year, and Trevor Dow (Needham (MA) Choate Rosemary Hall). Leotsakos has a good body and good motor, and is also a plus athlete who will give them a number of lineup options. Dow has been on the radar for a while and has good offensive tools inside. James Wells (6’6″ Jr. PF, South Burlington (VT) Rice HS) will give them another presence up front, and he comes from a winning program as his school has won two straight state titles. Patrick Racy (6’6″ Jr. F, Ridgefield (CT) High) is another excellent student who will get minutes up front as well.

The perimeter has good talent as well, starting with Jackson Donahue (6’1″ Jr. SG, Stonington (CT) Northfield Mount Hermon). He might be the best of the brothers, as he can not only shoot but can also handle the ball some and is a tough competitor at both ends of the floor. Jeff Spellman (6’0″ Sr. SG, West Roxbury (MA) Beaver Country Day School) is planning on a post-graduate year at a school to be determined, and Crotty raves about the focus he has shown thus far in the spring. Tim Preston (5’11” Jr. PG, Groton (MA) Lawrence Academy) will have a role at the point and can get to the basket to finish or create for teammate. Rohan Shukla (6’3″ Jr. SG, Roxbury Latin School) is a solid glue guy who will help playing off the ball. Michael Stamas (Jr. G, Northborough (MA) Algonquin Regional HS) will also be in the mix in the backcourt.

Right behind them are some talented younger players, a couple of whom might occasionally play up with the juniors. Matt Donahue (6’2″ So. SG, Stonington (CT) High) joins brother Jackson and has the best physical gifts of a family of shooters. Joe Bell (6’0″ So. SG, Concord (NH) Bishop Brady), the whose older brother is also a fine prospect in another program, is athletic and showed a nice stroke. Nick Tupanjanin (So. SG, Milton Academy) has a nice stroke, especially off the catch, and made a nice lefty layup off a drive and spin move one time. He is fresh off being an honorable mention All-ISL selection this past season. Harry O’Neal (6’8″ So. PF-C, Lexington (MA) High) has a good frame and body, and the lefty can run the floor and even hit mid-range jumpers, though his forte is scoring in close. Matt DeWolf (6’7″ So. PF, Barrington (RI) High) is a nice bookend to O’Neal as he has a good frame and a body that still has some maturing to come.

The spring schedule got going right away with the program running its annual First Shot Tournament, and they followed it up with an appearance this weekend at the Northeast Hoops Festival. They will also play in The Preview (run by Basketbull), the Hoop Group-run Pittsburgh Jam Fest, Massachusetts state tournament, and they also run their Last Shot Tournament in late May. As of now, the July schedule is largely TBD, but if past history is any indication one can expect it to be a full month with plenty of challenging games.

Crotty may have his best team yet, and there is good talent behind them, setting them up beyond this spring and summer. He has taken what his father started and run with it in a big way.

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