By Bill Burt
---- — There’s nothing like a good manager.
North Andover resident Kyle Palladino knows that better than anyone. Or maybe Bridgewater State University coach Joe Farroba does.
Coach Farroba, one of the top Div. 3 coaches in New England, was originally planning to bring five or so sophomore players to Cape Verde Islands, which are about 350 miles east of the African continent.
But five players turned to 10 players and one manager, which is where Palladino, who was a mainstay on the North Andover High boys basketball bench during his reign there from 2009 through 2012.
The team left a few days ago and plans to spend more than a week there, playing two games against the Cape Verdan National Team and then doing a few clinics.
“I was very surprised that I got the invitation,” said Palladino. “It started out as coach only taking our sophomore class. That expanded to 10 players, myself and a few assistant coaches. Our school has a study-abroad program in Cape Verde. And our school president, Dana Mohler-Faria, is Cape Verdan.”
Bridgewater State men’s basketball their manager won’t be done traveling this school year. The team will be hoping on a plane and headed to Las Vegas.
“This trip to Cape Verde will be very overwhelming for me since the only other time I traveled out of the country was to Montreal,” said Palladino. “I am expecting a humbling experience and to really try to connect with the people over there ... even though I don’t speak any Portuguese.”
Palladino says the commitment to being a manager in college is a tad more than in high school, particularly the road trips.
“We start practices in mid-October rather than after Thanksgiving,” said Palladino. “The time spent practicing is crazy and the travel is a lot different. Our closest league game was about one-hour away against Framingham State, whereas our farthest league game was one hour away in Rockport.
“I also do not expect much time off during our winter break,” said Palladino. “It is pretty cool being one of about 20 people on campus during the break, but it gets boring quickly.”