Pittsburgh Jam Fest Team Profile: Middlesex Magic Program Director Michael Crotty talks to HG Insider

By Pat Lawless

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Middlesex Magic always is one of the best teams in the Hoop Group Showcase League and one of the favorites in the Pittsburgh Jam Fest this weekend. Program Director and Head Coach Michael Crotty is excited about his group this year. He spoke to Hoop Group Insider about this and much more.

Q: You have had a lot of talented Middlesex Magic teams through the years. What makes this year’s team different from the rest?

A: “We have had a lot of very talented Magic teams over the years, but one thing that does make this team different is the number of players with division one scholarship offers before the April recruiting period - 7 players on our roster hold Division 1 offers. The team from 1 to 11 are all very high-level college players, so I think the recruitment they have all earned early in the season is a difference from years past.”

Q: What are some things to expect from you guys this live period?

A: “Things to expect from our team during the live period are that we will consistently play hard, play with great pace and play unselfishly. This team is extremely talented individually, but they understand that collectively, they can be a very special team. This group really enjoys being together and I think that chemistry will be evident in their play this live period.”

Q: You guys won last year’s HGSL. What needs to be done to win it again?

A: “Winning the HGSL was great for our team and program. That group came together to win 45 games and lost only 5 games all year.  We have talked this year about the fact that we are not defending our championship from a year ago, but rather we are attacking another championship this year. This is a new year, a new team, and although we share similar goals to the last two years, we look forward to the process of working every day to form our own identity and achieve those goals, one by one.”

Q: How are you guys approaching the Pittsburgh Jam Fest?

A: “We are approaching the Pittsburgh Jam Fest the way we do every year, which is to try to win each game possession by possession. In the 17U division, we were the runner up in 2016 and have been the champions the past two years so we know what it takes to have success in this tournament. We take nothing for granted and will try to be the aggressor each and every game. Our team will play for and with each other, and we hope this weekend is a springboard for the remainder of the grassroots season.”

Q: What do you find to be the most rewarding part of the grassroots season?

A: “There are two things that are the easily the most rewarding part of the grassroots season for me as the Director and Head Coach of the Middlesex Magic. One is seeing my players work so hard, garner recruitment and eventually achieve their dream and goal of becoming college basketball players. The other most important thing are the relationships we all form as we go through this journey as a team, together. These players form lifelong friendships and for me, I gain another set of younger brother types that I will be a coach, friend, and mentor to for the rest of my life. I watched my father do this for 15 years, and nothing makes me more proud than carrying that torch and extending his legacy for the Middlesex Magic in what is now our 26th year as a program.”

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