There is only one statement to describe my experience of playing for the Middlesex Magic; it changed my life. I was a part of a team that did much more than win basketball games. I met friends for life, friends that will always be there if I need a helping hand. That was a major reason why we had so much success; because everyone played for everyone else, a true team.
Playing for Coach Crotty Sr. was an honor. Yes of course we all remember the times where you can hear his voice from miles away, but every time he spoke to you it was with good intentions. He was more then a coach though. Before each high school game he would call me just to see how I was, and speaking with him became a routine that calmed me down and made me feel very prepared to play. He was a huge influence in my life, period. He was a huge influence in every Middlesex Magic player’s life. Most importantly, he was the major influence in his son’s life. Coach Crotty Sr. was always there for me just like Coach Crotty Jr. is now. Coach Crotty Jr., like his father, believed in me long before college coaches did. He helped with my recruitment more than anyone, and he made sure that our entire team was prepared and had the best opportunity to be successful and gain exposure to coaches. His coaching, guidance, and friendship are things that are things I value very much.
All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the experience I had with the Middlesex Magic, and more importantly the continued influence the Magic will have in my life to come.
Over the past five years, I have played ten seasons for the Middlesex Magic, every fall and spring season during the time period. My first 3 seasons as a player helped develop skill, poise, confidence, and toughness that have continued to allow me to play at a high level and play in my best games at nationals. This summer was my fifth and last nationals and by far my most memorable. I have always liked my teammates but I always considered nothing more than friends who happened to play basketball together. Now, after a week and a half of living together and feeding off one another, my teammates feel more and more like family. I will never forget the success that was achieved both on and off the court by this team and will always love my teammates and my coaches because of what we shared. Our 5-2 record at nationals and 3-2 record at the showcase confirmed the fact that a team from Massachusetts could, in fact, play with the best teams in the country because of faith in one another and the greatest chemistry of any team I have ever been a part of.
Michael Crotty Sr., the founder of the Middlesex Magic was my coach and mentor for five years. I was devastated when I learned of his passing because of how much he meant to me and everyone he touched, especially his family. He was so excited for this spring’s 17U Middlesex Magic team because of its talent and chemistry, which primed to make our team the best in the program’s history. This past season we made a pact to play with the passion and toughness that Coach Crotty always coached with and dedicated this season to him. With the help of his son, Michael Crotty Jr., our coach, we were able to achieve what we sought for: recognition and success at Division 1 Nationals.
After our final game, a tough 7 point loss to the Buckeye Ballers, Michael Crotty Jr. huddled us together and told us he could not be more proud of us. I knew at that moment that the season we had just dedicated to his father had turned out better than any of us could imagine thanks to trust and chemistry. As the team broke the huddle, I went to hug my teammates before the “season” had fully ended and upon getting to Mike, we both broke into tears, realizing that his coaching and the playing of our team would not have made his father any happier. As the longest tenured player on the team, I can tell you my tears were also of sadness, knowing that I had just played my final nationals game ever. If you want to find a program to send your child, choose the Middlesex Magic because you will learn about basketball, get better, have fun, but most importantly, you will be part of a program that is a family and will help you make friends for life.
I showed up for my first Middlesex Magic tryout when I was 14 years old. At the time, I had no idea how much the organization and the people that ran it, especially Coach Crotty Sr., would change my life. Over the course of the next five years playing with the Magic, I played alongside and against some of the best basketball players in the country. I improved immensely as a basketball player. Coach Crotty was always there to help me develop the aspects of my game that would help me compete at the college level. More importantly, he inspired confidence in myself that I could achieve my goals and dreams. While everyone else told me that I had no chance of playing for a division one college program, Coach Crotty always told me I could. He coached me as hard as I’ve ever been coached and he put my teammates and I on the floor against the best competition in America. As my game developed, he helped immensely with the recruiting process, making sure that I had every possible opportunity to showcase my talents for the college programs that I wanted to play for. I would not have achieved my goals of playing division one college basketball (Cornell) and later joining a division three national championship contender (Williams) if it had not been for Coach Crotty and the Middlesex Magic.
Beyond my development as a basketball player, Coach Crotty and the Magic program were major factors in my development as a person. Coach Crotty’s emphasis on academics above basketball pushed me to strive to attend some of the best academic institutions in the country. Many of my teammates from the Magic have become lifelong friends. The program was like a second family to me. As Coach Crotty always said: “It’s about more than basketball.” It was. I spent five years playing for the Middlesex Magic but the lessons I learned and the friendships I built will remain with me for the rest of my life.
Playing with the Middlesex Magic, under the direction of Coach Crotty Jr., was a truly life-changing experience for me that I will never forget. When reminiscing on my time spent with the program, there are three components that I believe separate the Magic from all other AAU programs; (1) the loving, yet ardent and intense atmosphere, (2) the unprecedented amount of fun you have with your coaches and teammates, and (3) the guidance of people that care, first and foremost, about your future and well-being.
It is hard to understand the compassion, fondness, and connection you have with your Magic coaches and teammates until you have been a member of the Magic. I was only in the program for one year; however, the bonds that I created are stronger than almost any I have had with any group of people in my entire life. This is due to the family atmosphere that has been created within the Middlesex program, where you are genuinely playing more for the man next to you rather than for yourself. There is a mutual passion and intensity between everyone in the program for the game of basketball that raises your level of play, and binds you together from the moment you begin practicing with each other. There is a consistent yearning to get better among players and coaches alike that is unmatched by any other AAU program that I know of.
However, while everyone wants to win badly and there is that unmatched intensity within the program, there is also an extreme emphasis on having fun. Some of the enjoyable times that I had with my team on the court, on the road, or in the hotel are memories that I will never forget. In addition to every win we had, there were also the spontaneous moments that often ended up bearing more weight of remembrance than any basket or play I ever made.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, the Middlesex Magic program is built upon a foundation of people that will always guarantee it true success. The late Coach Crotty Sr. wanted the student-athletes of this program to use basketball to open up doors to life that would most certainly be shut without it. While I unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet Coach Crotty Sr., it is well known that he infused the personal characteristics of hard work, perseverance, and compassion into everything he did. These days, Coach Crotty Jr., Coach Boyle, and all of the other coaches within the program carry on those ideals full heartedly, which allows the program to continue to be what it is today.
I am forever grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Magic Family, and I can’t wait to carry on the relationships that I have built with my coaches and teammates for the rest of my life.
Experience the Middlesex Magic Lifestyle.
My name is Alex Popp, and I grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts. My PROUDEST moment as a youth was earning a full athletic scholarship to play the game of basketball. The Division I offer was extended while I was wearing a Middlesex Magic jersey, and I will NEVER forget how great it felt. My passion is basketball, and it always has been. When I was growing up, I had the luxury of having parents who supported my interest. My father took me to see High School games all over the state. I remember seeing Mike Costello, Matt Christiansen and the Belmont Marauders take on Scoonie Penn, Jamal Camah and the Salem Witches. I remember seeing the silky smooth guard play at South Boston HS. I remember seeing Sean Connolly of Bishop Fenwick scoring relentlessly against double and triple teams. I remember seeing Lamar Reddicks and his Milton HS team pull off an undefeated season. I remember seeing small town Weston HS take Miami Senior HS to double OT before losing at the buzzer. Miami’s team boasted Steve Blake, Udonis Haslem and Frank Martin as their coach. Grassroots basketball meant a lot to me, and I knew that selecting the right AAU team at an early age was imperative.
When I was 12 years old, AAU basketball was beginning to blossom and teams like Greater Boston, Middlesex Magic, BABC, and Merrimack Valley were the top programs in the state. In 1997, I joined Mike Crotty, Sr.’s Middlesex Magic 12 and under program and we played in over 30 games in one season. We were able to capture the program’s first AAU state championship. Our reward for winning the state tournament meant a trip to the National’s in Salt Lake City, Utah. I still have my media guide from the tournament and players at the tournament included LeBron James, Kris Humphries, and Chris Paul. Our first game in pool play was against the North Carolina Nets and Paul happened to be their point guard. He was 4’11 at the time and I remember the coaches and parents agreeing that he was special. Our season ended with a record of 27-4, and we collectively became more confident and passionate about the game we loved. It was the experience of a lifetime, and we knew that the Middlesex Magic program would open many more doors in our futures.
Fast forward to high school where I played my prep ball at Winchester HS and Northfield Mount Hermon, similar to current Magic star Pete Miller. I had opportunities to play with several premiere AAU clubs around the region and even out of the region, but my family and I knew that Middlesex Magic was the best fit. The reason we chose Middlesex Magic was due to the national exposure, high character coaching staff, and family oriented atmosphere that Crotty, Sr. had established. From 2001-2003, our Middlesex Magic team traveled the country feeling like a professional ballplayers. We played tournaments in Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, Chapel Hill/Durham, Memphis, and New York. And, the icing on the cake was getting an invite to Sonny Vaccarro’s All-American ABCD camp through Crotty, Sr. I wound up representing the Magic at camp, and I got to play against guys like JR Smith, Shaun Livingston, Sebastian Telfair, Glen Davis, Josh Smith, Aaron Afflalo, Joakim Noah, Dwight Howard, and DeMarcus Nelson. It was a dream come true for a young basketball enthusiast.
My Middlesex Magic teammates went on to have great careers at the collegiate level, and they are all ultra-successful professionally now. I still consider the majority of them family, it was a brotherhood that continued on after our final tournament together. In my time with the Magic, I played with an impressive list of ballplayers. Among the standouts who wore the Magic blue were: Jermaine Anderson (UNH), PJay Bernard (SNHU), Casey Bracket (Merrimack), Ryan Brimley (James Madison), Jeff Brown (Colgate), Derek Coleman (Robert Morris), Matt Smith (Northeastern), Lew Finnegan (Bentley), Greg Vetrano (St. Anslem), Hassan Fofana (Maryland/Loyola MD), Bobby Kelly (Northeastern), Daniel Lawson (Bentley), Mark MacDonald (Brown), Sean O’Grady (Williams), Andres Sandoval (Richmond), Robert Taylor (Trinity), Joe Pagliuca (Duke), Michael Walsh (Middlebury), and Matt Wolff (Boston U). We actually had two teams in the summer of 2003 and they were equally loaded in talent, eventually making a sweet 16 run in the nationals that year.
My Middlesex Magic experience has become a lifestyle. The friendships with the players and coaches were unparalleled and timeless. The networking has helped me tremendously socially and professionally. I will forever be grateful of my time with the Magic, and I am always eager to see the Magic play every season. The transition of the program from Crotty, Sr. to Crotty, Jr. has been pleasurable to witness because of the outcome and product that is being put out on the floor. Mike, Sr. was one of my all-time favorite people because of his uncanny ability to motivate, and Mike, Jr. has inherited this talent. My colleagues in the coaching industry would agree with me by saying that it is a refreshing experience to watch the Magic play; and this derives from their organization, work ethic, and high character.
Coach Crotty was a difference maker. Like many coaches, he helped kids improve as basketball players. Unlike many coaches, he taught them how basketball could improve their lives. Whether it was teamwork or leadership, competition or sportsmanship, Coach Crotty and the Middlesex Magic made it a priority to stress the things that players could take beyond the game of basketball.After finishing up my senior season at Governors Academy, I was very uncertain of what was coming next in my basketball career. I had planned on doing a postgraduate year, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to play AAU in the spring and summer. A friend of mine who had played for the magic reached out to me and encouraged to give coach Crotty a call. I knew very little about the program, but I had only heard positive things from everyone who had ever been associated with it. In my first practice I felt welcomed by everyone in the gym, both players and coaches reached out to me inferring that they not only cared about my ability as player, but also who I was as a person. After attending that first practice, I knew that I was now a part of something very special.
I played for the 17u team coached by Coach Crotty and Coach Boyle. As a team we had a lot of success, winning a couple huge tournaments and making it all the way to the finals in a few others. We improved more and more every time we stepped on the court together because of the great leadership and knowledge provided by both Coach Crotty and Coach Boyle. They taught us the game on the court and made us undoubtedly better people off it. Together, they prepared me for life moving forward as a basketball player, but also as a student, friend, teammate and son. I am so grateful for the life lasting relationships I have built with both of them.
As for the players on the team, I have built friendships that will last long past my Magic playing career. Being new to the program, returning players welcomed me in immediately and never once made me feel like an outsider looking in. On the court, everyone in the program plays an unselfish brand of basketball that is very uncharacteristic in AAU. Our offense works for the best shot every time down the floor no matter who is taking it. This is all because of people like Coach Crotty and Coach Boyle who have made this concept of playing together a priority since day one of practice.
In the end, I can honestly say that playing for the Magic was the greatest basketball experience I have had to date. It has not only drastically changed my game for the better but also has built relationships that I will cherish forever.
Coach Crotty was a difference maker. Like many coaches, he helped kids improve as basketball players. Unlike many coaches, he taught them how basketball could improve their lives. Whether it was teamwork or leadership, competition or sportsmanship, Coach Crotty and the Middlesex Magic made it a priority to stress the things that players could take beyond the game of basketball.
I will never forget when he put the ball in my hands and said “go.” I will never forget when he benched me for showing up the opposing team. I will never forget when he came to watch me play in college (which he helped me get into). And I will never forget when he took my call years later for a favor.
The Middlesex Magic is the quintessence of what good can come from an AAU program. The foundations started with a guy who wanted to his kid to improve in basketball and in life. Those foundations have never changed.
I walked into practice apprehensive about the upcoming months. I knew no one. I had obviously seen the Middlesex Magic play throughout my AAU career, but all the memories of the team were blanketed by an overshadowing picture of Coach Crotty Sr. I was not sure how I was going to fit in or if I would be accepted as the player and person I am. My very first practice seemed to be the longest as I tried soaking in as much information as possible about this well-oiled machine of a program. The Director and my Head Coach, Coach Crotty Jr. surprisingly joined a scrimmage drill we were running and during one play, he and I got into a small, play-related, discussion. What happened in that play is irrelevant, but I believe in that moment Coach Crotty and I established a relationship that is stronger than any other association I have ever had with a coach. He believes in me and will not allow me to put forth anything but my best effort in everything I do. I can describe countless times where the Middlesex Magic has taught me to better myself. My teammates and coaches became my family, and they are a huge part of my life and have more influence on me than they may think. I look at all of these people as role models. The Middlesex Magic has taught me to how to become a better basketball player, a better student, and better friend, and additionally I can honestly say that my time spent around this team made me progress into becoming a man. I am honored to play alongside and to be coached by these incredible men of character and am eternally grateful for all they have provided in my life.
Three years ago, in the spring of my freshman year, I didn’t have a place to play AAU. My previous team had fallen by the wayside, and I was even considering taking a spring and summer off from basketball. I remember walking into the Meadowbrook gym on that morning of the tryout, and while I had no idea at the moment, I had just found my family. For the next three years, never once did my mind waver: I wanted to play for no one but the Middlesex Magic.
From the first practice with Coach Kender on the 15U B-Team, everyone in the program constantly stressed the theme of “family”. I understood the concept but I was hesitant to believe that a group of young men from so many different backgrounds, locations, and lifestyles would ever truly be a family. For the next three years, not only did I develop in leaps and bounds as a player while we won a lot of games as a team, but my initial doubts were proven wrong every time I stepped in a gym with the program. Like I said, we won a lot of games, but the shining moment for me was one where I didn’t even get to suit up. Early in the spring, I suffered a concussion, sidelining me from the action. One night, I drove to Tufts University with my father for the Michael Crotty Sr. Memorial Game. I was excited to support my teammates and honor a man who, although I never met him, has impacted my life, but I expected nothing more than a few parents and fans in the stands. The moment I stepped in that gym I fully realized the meaning of the Middlesex Magic family. Countless Magic alumni, both new and old, filled the stands, as well as younger players, their families, other Magic coaches, and numerous other members of the Magic community. It was then that I realized that the Middlesex Magic was about so much more than just basketball. In a sport where kids constantly bounce back and back between teams, the Middlesex Magic has developed a community. This community is one based on hard-work, trust, and family, and it just so happens to win a lot of basketball games as well.
I am honored to have gotten to play for Coach Crotty Jr. and Coach Boyle this spring. Looking forward, I am very excited for my final year of Fall AAU and high school basketball. Earlier this year, I would have been a little sad about the thought that my Middlesex Magic career would end soon, but now I realize that while my days as a player are winding down, my time as a member of this family has only just begun.
My time spent playing for the Middlesex Magic has been a complete privilege and honor to me. I have played in the program for 4 years now and it has helped shape me into the person that I am today. Not only has the organization improved my basketball game, it has taught me valuable lessons that I will be able to use throughout my life. We are a family, and that is first and foremost. The people that I have played with are my brothers, and I can honestly say that the relationships we built will last a lifetime. Being on the U17’s team twice, I feel that I have gotten to know some incredible people, ones that I will be close with for a very long time. Not only were we one of the best AAU teams around, it is safe to say that no other team I saw had that some charisma and chemistry that we did. We were a family first, and a team second. This is how it should be and I cannot thank the program for giving me such an amazing opportunity. Every single person cared about me tremendously, and this has completely changed my life.
I had the great fortune to be coached by Coach Crotty Sr. and words can’t explain how great of a man and friend he was. Whatever he did, it always for the benefit of the kids. We miss him everyday that he is gone, but we can truly say that he has touched everyone’s lives in a unique way. I believe that playing for Coach Crotty Jr. is the next best thing. He has taught me everything I know about being a basketball player and simply being a man. I have learned so much over the last two years playing under him and nothing will every be able to take that away. I feel completely blessed to be a part of such a great family. Thank you to everyone that has helped make these last few years so great. Coach Crotty, Coach Boyle, Georgey and all of my teammates. You guys are the best and I know that each one of you will go on to be very successful men.
First off I can’t thank Coach Crotty, Coach Boyle, and Coach George enough for not only allowing me the opportunity to play for Middlesex Magic but also for bringing me into a family of genuine people who I enjoyed being around. When I came to the first fall tryout last year with fellow Magic player Connor Mahoney I knew right then and there that it was the place for me. Although it was fun playing with the other guys, it wasn’t the basketball side of it that attracted me to the blue and white. It was the camaraderie and the sense of unity that filled the gym. That night at Babson was the first time I had really met Coach Crotty Jr. Just in that five minute conversation with him I had completely made up my mind that I wanted to be apart of the Magic family. The things that Coach Crotty Jr. has done for me on and off the court since I met him a year ago are endless. There were a lot of times this winter where I needed an outlet (no pun intended) and to talk to another voice for advice. Coach Crotty was that voice for me whenever I needed it. I realized that he wasn’t just a coach, but more importantly, a friend. He’s a friend that I trust and a person that I look up to. I also appreciate the time that he, along with Coach Boyle and Coach George have put into the program to make it what it is now.
This past spring and summer brought about long-lasting memories. I went into the spring knowing some of the guys from the fall but didn’t know some too well. You know when you have a great team when you have unbelievable team camaraderie within the first week of being together. Middlesex Magic has introduced me to people I may have never met, places I may have never seen, or challenges I may have never worked to overcome. When I tell people I play for Middlesex Magic the common responses I get are, â€œthat’s a pretty good teamâ€ or â€œthat’s the team Connaughton played for right?â€ My responses to those questions are always yes, but being a good team isn’t just what we are about. People don’t realize the bonds we form or the friendships we share that make us a family.
I went into the spring with 12 teammates and two coaches. I stepped off the plane at Logan Aiport after our run at the Showcase and Nationals in Orlando with 12 brothers and three coaches who I consider to be friends and mentors.
This spring and summer was the greatest basketball experience of my life. Our team was filled with great guys and team players. We won lots of games during the spring and the wins continued into the summer. The more games we played, the more together we became as a group. At Nationals in Orlando, even though I did not play as well as I had hoped I would, I still had a great experience because I got to be around the coaches and gain strong relationships with people I would have never met if it hadn’t been for this Magic family.
Being part of the Middlesex Magic family has been a great experience for me. The greatest part of this program is that there is no selfishness involved. On the court, we play as a team. Off the court, we are all brothers. Coach Crotty has pushed me and encouraged me to become not only a better player and teammate, but a better person as well. No other coach that I have played for has sincerely cared about who each player is as a person as much as Coach Crotty does. I am very thankful for the time and effort Coach Crotty has put into this program and the effect he has had on my life.
This was my first year playing for Coach Crotty Jr. and the Middlesex Magic and it was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. The Middlesex Magic was different than any other AAU team I have played for before because it wasn’t a team it, it was a family. Since the first day of practice the team welcomed me and made me feel like I was part of the family. I remember showing up to practice that day in March and being amazed at how many former players were still coming to practices and the bond that all of these past players and the present Magic players had with each other. That day I knew I wanted to experience that this bond and be a part of the tradition.
Coach Crotty Jr. is more than a coach to me. He was a teammate sometimes on the practice court, a mentor, and most importantly a friend. Coach Crotty Jr. is able to be our coach and to push us extremely hard, yet at the same time be a friend to each of his players. He has an extremely high basketball IQ, truly cares for his players, and does everything he can to help them. From a basketball standpoint, Coach Crotty and Coach Boyle teach an unselfish style of offense and they teach and emphasize a tenacious style of team defense.
My favorite part of the summer and spring was going away for all of the different national tournaments. These tournaments were not only fun because of the basketball games, but because I got to spend time with my Magic teammates and the coaches. The bonds we made will last a lifetime. I am very thankful to have become a part of the Middlesex Magic family and I know that I have friends for life because of it. I would like to say thanks to Coach Boyle, Coach Crotty Jr. and Coach George Crotty for coaching me this spring and summer.
This past year was my first time playing with the Middlesex Magic. All I can say is that this experience was one I will remember forever. Unlike other AAU programs I have played for the magic is truly a family. What makes this program unique is its ability to teach and make the players understand that together we can accomplish more than individually. This mindset creates a fun and caring environment, which goes deeper than basketball. Not only has coach Crotty Jr. taught us individually how to become better players but most of all better people. He has held each of us to a high standard on and off the court and pushed us to reach our goals. The â€œMiddlesex Magic Mindsetâ€ has helped me to further understand how a team reaches success. As a family would we hold each other to high standards and hate to disappoint one another therefore we are able to achieve more by raising the bar for one another. Playing for coach Crotty has been a pleasure and an honor. I don’t know if there is any other coach in the AAU circuit that genuinely cares for their players more than he does. Coach Crotty, along with Coach George and Boyle worked together to make an all-star coaching staff (one of the best I have ever played for). I thank them all for helping me to get where I am today and for allowing me to become apart of the Middlesex Magic Family. It has been a great experience and I appreciate everything you all have done for me. Thank you all very much.
My time spent with the Magic may not have been as long as some of my teammates’ but it is definitely as memorable. I’ve played for a lot of basketball teams since I was little but never any quite like the Magic. This was a team that played purely because everybody wanted to do one thing which was win. I’ve played on other teams where it was everyman for himself. But this team was special. This team had chemistry like no other, and a unity on and off the court that is unparalleled. It’s very hard to put into words what playing for this team has done for me.
Playing for both Coach Crotty Jr. and Sr. has meant a lot to me. The lessons I learned from both of them about basketball and life will stick with me for the rest of my life. Had Coach Sr. never given me the opportunity to play with the Magic, I never would have developed the way I have as a player, student, and most importantly a person. Losing him this winter was very tough for the entire team, but having the opportunity to come back and be coached by his brother and son who he passed his love for the game on to, it was as though he was there the whole time.
I would have thought that the last game against the Buckeye Ballers was the end of something special, but really it was only the beginning. My time with the Magic has given me many lifetime friends and mentors that will always be there for me no matter what. I also have a plethora of memories from playing with the Magic that will last me a lifetime.
Thanks again to Coach Crotty, Coach Boyle, George, Sumant, all of my teammates from the last two years and of course the big guy! Without any of these guys our success as both a team and a family wouldn’t have been possible.
The Middlesex Magic is where I started and finished my AAU career. During the 4 years that I was apart of the Magic I met dozens of great people, which created many life long friendships. Your father gave me many opportunities at a young age to play up and get early exposure. He also taught me a lot about the right way to act on the court but more importantly off the court. Over the years with the Magic I have been a part of countless memories that I will remember for the rest of my life. This year was the most exciting and most memorable basketball season, not just only AAU, that I have been apart of. I would not have traded the experience I had this spring and summer with this unbelievable group of people for anything. It was a joy to play for you and your father. I had a great time this year. Thank you for everything you and your family have done for me.
My years playing basketball with the Middlesex Magic have been the best of my life. My teammates have become some of my closest friends and I know they will always be there for me. When I look back on my career with the Magic, I realize that it truly is one of the premier programs around. We practice regularly, play in great tournaments, but most importantly, the coaches care about making the players better and getting them ready for college. Coach Crotty Jr. is one of the best coaches I have ever had the pleasure of playing for. He knows the game better than anyone I have ever met, and he knows how to teach it. As a point guard (which he played) I was able to learn things about that position that I never would have been able to learn on my own.
Probably the best part about the Middlesex Magic program for me is that it brings in such upstanding kids. The coaches would never put on a punk kid just because he was a good ballplayer, they would make sure to find good kids who were also tremendous basketball players. Every kid on the team cared about basketball, but more importantly cared about playing basketball the right way. Nobody on the team “tried to get theirs”, and everyone on the team really bought into the “team” concept. It was the type of team where a superstar would gladly pass up a good shot so that a role player could get a great shot.
In my years with the Magic I have become a much better basketball player, a better teammate, and a better person, and have done all of that while having a blast playing the game I love with people around me that I love.
There have been too many incredible experiences over the last couple years I just have no idea where to start. First of all, I would like to say that you, your father, George, Coach Boyle, and Sumant have been the best coaches and friends a player can have. The first practice I attended last year I was, of course, intimidated by your father, but soon learned how incredible a coach and a person he was. I loved the way he got straight to the point, never beat around the bush, and told you how it was. He always used to say “Listen to the message not the way I deliver it!” Your father was always like a father to the whole team. There is one particular experience that I will never forget. We were about to get on the tower of terror (Universal Studios, Orlando, Fl) and Avi was very scared and said he hoped he didn’t “die” on the ride. Your father looked us in the eye, and said to us that he had no fear of death because he had already been revived once in his lifetime after a specific surgery. He told us to never be scared of death, everything happens for a reason, and when it is time to go, it is time to go, no regrets. Looking back at this experience seems so surreal now that I think about it. Also, the fact that 2 years ago when we had the team with Coach Ainge, I happened to end up with the jersey number 57, a very uncommon number in basketball and also Coach Crotty Sr.’s age. I then went on to wearing the number 2 for the next two seasons, uncommonly enough your fathers birthday was October SECOND and the day he entered heaven was February SECOND. If these signs aren’t clear enough that your father is watching down on us, I don’t know what is. This team has been the best experience of my life to be honest with you. Mike Jr. you are the best coach I have ever played under, whether it was playing in the games or just life lessons. The team and I consider you as more than a coach, sort of like a brother/father figure. I know you will always have our backs for anything we do and we have yours as well. I can’t believe that was the last time we will be together at nationals, but the trip could not have gone better. Our team is a family, and that clearly translates onto the court with the chemistry we have. I want to conclude this by saying thank you for everything coach this has been the greatest times of my life with the Middlesex Magic Family. We will definitely stay close.
Playing with the Magic has changed my life forever. When I first started the program I didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t have imagine that it would have taken me this far. Playing for Big Mike was more than just a relationship from a player to his coach. To me he was the closest thing to a father figure in my life. He was there for me when I was struggling on and off the court. He was some one who I could talk to about anything. Coach was part of my drive to be better at everything I did when it came to basketball and when it came to life. He made me who I am today and I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t be hear right now. When I found that coach had past I didn’t know what to do…I started to think about all of the people who I had lost during my high school years and it really took a toll on me. I felt like they way I did when I found out that my father had died. I couldn’t process it, a piece of me was gone. But at the same time it had made me stronger and brought me closer to the ones who I call my brothers. Brian E, Brian H, Ant, Max, Tommy, Eric, Juvi, Big Pete, PC, Ack, Avi, Jesse, C-Mo, and the list keeps on going. These mean so much to me and the relationship I have with them is unbreakable. To all the coaches I’ve had other than your father, you are the one I looked up to Mike. You were a second older brother to me. I wanted to be a leader just like you. Last fall I was the captain of my soccer team at my school and my coach had told me that he believes that I will become a great coach some day. At the end of the season I given MVP award for great leadership and I owe it all to you and your dad, coach. Now entering my senior year in high. I’m going to take everything I’ve learned from you as a coach and as a leader and use those tools to lead my other brother on my High school basketball team to victory and new heights. Thank you for everything coach. I wish you the best and give your family my love.
I had a lot of fun this summer with the team, but the season in the fall was just as fun for me as well. The fall time is when I was introduced to the program, and re-introduced to your father along with yourself. At the time I was a little indecisive on which AAU program I should play with, but after the first tryout I had with you guys, ALL questions were out the window on who I’d be playing with. What determined it for me was your father’s confidence and reinsurance that he displayed while talking to Raul and I during the tryout. He said to me, â€œI need to know right now weather your staying with us or not, because this team is going to be doing special things.â€ He also told Raul and I that he and you would help me become a D1 basketball player. While saying this he looked us dead in the eye, and from that moment on Raul and I knew he was for real, and so I decided I’d play with you guys from there on out.
As the fall season progressed I became more comfortable with the program and with the teammates as well. Going into this, Max and I were already good friends, but this past fall I became really good friends with: Pags, Aaron, PC, Ack, Connor, and many others. I believe we won all but 1 game during the fall season, but my most memorable moment was the Middlesex Magic tournament at Babson College. After we had won the championship you guys had elected the player of the game with that huge trophy. I was thrilled when you guys decided to give it to me, for me that felt like almost a welcome to the team type award, and I will always cherish that moment and highly appreciate it.
Another thing I loved about your father was his eagerness to get me into a prep school. I’ll never forget after one of the practices when I spoke to him about it he said to me, â€œyou’re going to prep school it’s a done deal.â€ Surely enough I was accepted into a prep school, and I love him for pushing me and encouraging me to get into a prep school. I’ll never forget the day when I found out he had passed away, it deeply saddened me and I cried for hours, because I truly appreciated your father. He was a great man and he will always be missed, loved and highly appreciated for what he has done for others. This past season without him was very tough, and I hope we made him proud.
With that being said, I enjoyed this past Spring/Summer season in which we have completed. Hopefully we go down as one of the best Middlesex Magic teams you guys have ever had. It was so much fun, never have I had such a bond and a feeling of being part of a family as I did with this team. I know even after basketball I will have experiences to share and life long friendships with my fellow teammates.
Last but not least I would like to thank you the most. I appreciate you for accepting me as apart of the Magic and making me one of your go to guys on this team. I admire your courage and strength for picking up where your father left off, because we sure know that was not an easy thing to do. You are the best coach I have ever played for, and I thank you for pushing me each and everyday on and off the court to be not only be a better player, but a better person as well.
I’m glad you’re having all the players do this because lately I’ve been thinking about how big of an impact the Middlesex Magic has had on my life so it’s good to write it down. Playing for you and your father has been the best. I’ve never been on a team with the chemistry that we have. All the players and coaches get along on and off the court and it’s the only time I’ve ever been on a team like this. I’m friends with everyone on the team and have spent a lot of time with them outside of practice and games. The connections and friendships I’ve made will last forever, I’m sure of that. Both you and your Dad are easily the best coaches I’ve had. Not only do you know a lot about the game but you get the whole team fired up, you can tell your passion/fire rubs off and you still make it fun for all of us at the same time. The Magic has made me a better basketball player from practices and games but I think it has made me a better person and also mentally tougher. Especially since my injury everyone has been behind me, checking up on me to make sure I’m doing okay. I’m disappointed I couldn’t play down in Orlando this year but I can’t wait for next spring and summer. My favorite story from the Magic is the first tournament I ever played with the team. It was in the fall at Babson and Crotty, Sr. looked at me and said you’re gonna win us this game. I eventually hit a three to seal it, but that is what I miss most about your father is the confidence he instilled in me and also just talking to him. I’m looking forward to another season with the team and I’m glad we’ll have a good amount of the guys back. The Middlesex Magic is one of the biggest parts of my life and it has changed me in a good way. Thank you for everything!
I became part of the Middlesex Magic in eighth grade, joining a program that has an unmatched passion for the sport of basketball, stemming from its founder Coach Crotty Sr. The first practice was all it took to recognize Coach Crotty’s enthusiasm for the sport. He was the catalyst in my transformation from tentative to aggressive and energetic on the court. What I did not expect was how much he cared about his players’ lives off the court as well. He recognized that school was the most important thing, basketball was secondary. He always made himself available, and when he asked about life outside of the Magic, he was genuinely interested. The two trips that I have taken to nationals are the highlights of my Magic career. I could never predict that the relationships with my teammates, who I saw only a few times a week beforehand, would grow into meaningful friendships. Playing and living together created a unique bond between players and coaches, and supporting each other through both the physical and mental exertion of the week brought everyone closer together. It is a rarity to find a coach who can balance his relationships with players on and off the court, and I have never played for a coach who does this as well as Coach Crotty Jr. The team would not be complete without his presence and immeasurable knowledge of the game. Not only have I improved as a player in my time with the Magic, but I have also made strong friendships with kids who I never would have met without the program. Thank you for letting me be a part of the team this year as well as organizing the trip to Florida. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I know everyone feels the same way. I am honored to have been coached by you and your father, and I’m looking forward to the coming season.
On every Middlesex Magic team I have coached from 10U to 17U, I’ve always found that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Without question, this organization fosters tremendous basketball growth at the team and individual level, but also a camaraderie amongst players and parents that leads to success on the court and enduring friendships off of it.
While it would be easy to focus on the tremendous regional and national successes of the Middlesex Magic basketball teams or the program’s long tradition of churning out college athletes, doing so would be to overlook the heart and true purpose of the organization. What makes the Middlesex Magic organization unique is its commitment to cultivating enduring relationships between coaches and players, the ability to instill confidence and an appreciation for hard work in its players, and then an emphasis on balancing basketball with the many other commitments and passions in their lives.
I have been a part of the Middlesex Magic program for what feels like my whole life. Even before playing on the team, I can remember going to watch my older brother play on one of Coach Crotty Sr.’s U17 teams. I remember fantasizing about playing for the older teams that Coach Crotty Sr. instructed. Little did I know how much of an impact he would have on both my basketball career and my life. From the very start of my Middlesex Magic career, in 5th grade, I feel like Coach Crotty Sr. was looking out for me. Sometimes he would take me to tournaments with the older teams, and let me play with them. I loved playing under him because he was such a great teacher; I cannot count the number of timeouts he burned simply to correct me and make me a better basketball player. No matter what mistake I made he would always end his timeouts the same, saying, â€œHave fun! And shoot the ball!â€ It was this type of positive encouragement that made Coach Crotty Sr. such a great mentor, and these are two mottos that I live by on the basketball court. Even more than the great coach he was on the court, I will remember Coach Crotty Sr. for the time I spent with him off the court: the countless car rides, lunches, and time in between games through which I got to know Coach Crotty Sr. for the great person that he was. Being a part of the Middlesex Magic program is about growing as a player and a person every year. I believe that this past year’s U17 season, specifically nationals, was the culmination of the team’s collective growth in the Middlesex Magic system. I am confident that there is not a team in all of AAU that got along better than our Magic team. There was never any griping over playing time, position, or number of shots; this group of players was a team in the truest sense of the world. All of the players are great people and I feel that I’ve made lifelong friends from this program. I can imagine myself in 10, 15, 20 years meeting up with my teammates and sharing our memories from such a great season.
While Coach Crotty Sr. has been instrumental to my success as a player and a person, Coach Crotty Jr. has also made a huge impact in my life. Coach Crotty Jr. is a coach who teaches great fundamentals, has a great feel for the game, and holds you accountable as a player. Like his father, Coach Crotty Jr. realizes the goal of the Middlesex Magic is to make sure that players improve and have fun. I feel like committing to a team in AAU basketball is entrusting a portion of your basketball career to the coach and its program; I would not trust mine to anyone else. Just as much as I love the Middlesex Magic, Coach Crotty Jr. loves his players and will fight for them. I am happy to say that I have one more season to play Middlesex Magic basketball, and I am excited to help write the next chapter of such a great program.
I came to the Magic program with a great deal of apprehension, having come from a bad experience with another program. I wasn’t sure if AAU basketball was right for me. Needless to say, that feeling was short-lived. I quickly developed a fondness for Coach Crotty Sr., and we eventually developed a bond that I have not shared with any other coach in my career. It was evident from day one that he truly cared for his players, both on and off the court. As a coach, he preached the importance of playing hard and having fun while constantly stressing the importance of academics and being an all-around good person. These beliefs permeated through the program as with his players striving to live up to his ideals.
Coach Crotty Sr. guided me through my high school years and served as one of the great role models in my young life. He had the upmost confidence that I could continue my career at the collegiate level, and was instrumental in making it happen. Thanks to his efforts, I went on to play at Colby College, where I served as team captain. He continued to serve as a mentor and a friend as I moved from the basketball court to the courtroom as an attorney.
Today, the torch has been passed from father to son, but the values of the program remain. Having had the opportunity to play both with and against Coach Crotty Jr. over the years, I witnessed firsthand the court-savvy and leadership skills that made him an elite player. He was truly like a coach on the floor. Today, he proudly follows in his dad’s footsteps, ensuring that his values are instilled into the next generation of Middlesex Magic players.