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Basketball Recruit Following in Parents’ Footsteps

April 23, 2018
Justin Connolly is bringing his basketball talents to Merrimack College, where his parents met and fell in love more than 30 years ago.

Connolly was recruited for basketball but also plans to study business, as his parents did.

While growing up in Melrose, Massachusetts, the 6-foot 7-inch occasionally visited campus to play youth hockey. When his parents, John and Leslie, joined him on a recruiting trip last summer, they were surprised by how much the campus has changed since their days as undergraduates. They were impressed with the new Merrimack Stadium, development of new housing on North Campus, Crowe Hall, and the construction of Arcidi Center. “

It’s night and day from when I was there between the dorms and everything else,” said John Connolly who played club football at Merrimack. “And I think the student body is twice the size of what it was when I was there.”

Connolly will graduate from Brooks School in North Andover this spring. Despite his parents’ fond feelings for Merrimack, they didn’t try to influence his college choice.

“No real pressure,” he said. “They said that my college decision is up to me, it would be my choice in the end.”

He chose Merrimack over Tufts University, Bowdoin College and Post University. The basketball program under head coach Joe Gallo and the school’s academics sold themselves.

“I believe Merrimack gives me the platform to excel in the classroom and help set me up with a great career beyond Merrimack,” Connolly said. “In my decision to attend Merrimack a major piece to the puzzle was the basketball program.”

“We’re very proud of him,” John Connolly said. “I know he’ll excel at Merrimack both athletically and academically because he’s a very bright kid.”

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  • Justin Connelly is joining the Merrimack community this fall.
    Justin Connelly is joining the Merrimack community this fall.

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