Merrimack adds two during early NLI period
The Merrimack College men’s basketball team and head coach Joe Gallo signed two future student-athletes to National Letters of Intent earlier in November, adding two Warriors who will join the program next fall.
The two additions completes Merrimack’s incoming class for next season, with the Navy and Gold graduating only a pair of seniors from the current roster. One of the newcomers hails from New Jersey and joins the Warriors’ backcourt, while the other is a local product from the Brooks School that will play in the frontcourt.
High School: Brooks School / St. John’s Prep.
Hometown: Melrose, Mass.
Gallo on Connolly: “We are extremely excited to welcome Justin and his family to our program. Justin possesses a great combination of both toughness and skill. He has the ability to both score inside but also step out on the perimeter and make a shot. Most importantly, Justin is a great kid who values winning over everything else. We know that he will come in prepared because of his time spent with Coach McVeigh at the Brooks School and Coach Crotty and the Middlesex Magic; 2 guys that are as good as it gets at teaching the game and preparing guys for the next level.”
About Connolly: Entering his second season at the Brooks School … Played on a Brooks team that went 25-0 last season and won both the NEPSAC B Title and the ISL Title … Three-year varsity letterwinner at St. John’s Prep. in Danvers before transferring … Started on a Prep team two years ago that reached the Quarterfinals of the MIAA State Tournament … Both of his parents graduated from Merrimack and his cousin, Chrysta, played field hockey for Merrimack
High School: Linden H.S. / Union Catholic
Hometown: Linden, N.J.
Gallo on Watkins: “We are extremely excited to welcome Mikey and his family to our program. Mikey is a flat-out winner who has the ability to play both on and off the ball. Mikey can get his own shot as well as facilitate offense for his teammates. He is another Jersey guard who will add an edge to our program and brings a winning stock. Linden High School has been the best public high school program in the state of NJ over the last 15 years. Coach Colicchio and his staff set the bar for how the game should be played, and teaching their guys what it takes to win games at a high level.”
About Watkins: Averaged 9.9 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds last season playing at Linden High School … Won a sectional and state championship at Linden last season … former teammate of current Warrior Khalief Crawford … Played two seasons at Union Catholic in New Jersey before transferring to Linden … Helped Union to a 17-8 record during his sophomore year