NORTH ANDOVER — Chris Bardwell always bled Central Catholic Red, White and Blue.
He was going to be the third Bardwell brother to follow in their father Dr. David Bardwell’s footsteps and make a name for himself on Hampshire Street.
But his frustration over limited playing time with the Raider basketball and baseball teams led him to make a decision he never dreamed he’d make.
He transferred to his hometown school, North Andover High School, over the summer.
“It was a tough decision,” said Bardwell, a strapping 6-5, 205-pound senior. “I really do miss Central.”
He was a reserve on the basketball team, with no guarantees of big minutes with the return of two of the most talented big men in Eastern Mass. in Nick Cambio and Doug Gemmell. The playing time was even tougher to come by in baseball, where he split time with the varsity and JV teams as a junior last spring.
North Andover is thrilled with the decision. Bardwell is a player to watch when the 38th annual Greater Lawrence Christmas Tourney taps off Thursday night at Lawrence High.
He dreamt of starring at the Christmas Tourney, just not with Knights.
“I’ve been going to Central games since fourth or fifth grade watching Jonathan Cruz,” he said. “Ever since then, I wanted to go there.”
That desire was only heightened watching his brother, Zach (CCHS ‘11), who was a two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star in baseball, a two-year starter in football and a reserve on the 2010 state championship basketball team.
“I just wanted to be a part of what he was part of,” said Chris.
There has been a lot of preseason buzz over the 6-5 senior based on his play in the Hoops for Hope Summer League and the Donovan’s Fall Ball League. He has proved it was no fluke with 43 points for a balanced yet talent-laden Scarlet Knight squad, which is 2-0.