NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

A diamond in the rough

Robbie Quinlan seized opportunities for growth NECC basketball offered

Robbie Quinlan is a 6’4” second year player for the Northern Essex Knights basketball team. He’s an extremely versatile player that splits time between the guard and forward spots, despite being the team’s tallest player according to their posted roster. Upon his graduation from NECC, he intends to attend and play for Plymouth State. That will be his 3rd year playing college basketball, which 3 more years than he played for varsity basketball in high school. Quinlan attended North Andover High and graduated in 2016 with no years of basketball played.

Student standing in front of white brick wall wearing a blue necc basketball uniform  Courtesy photo

Robbie Quinlan

The reason wasn’t talent or academics, but rather behaivoral issues and immaturity. He was homeschooled until seventh grade and sometimes did things to fit in that would get him in trouble. This resulted in a suspension at one point and being blackballed from high school sports, despite his obvious talent. Instead of continuing down this dark path, Quinlan decided to rectify his past mistakes.

He more than redeemed himself during his two years at NECC. His first year, he was one of the first guys to come off the bench for a very goood basketball team,despite having played next to none high-level organized basketball the previous three years.  He had also changed as a person, making much more responsible and healthy decisions for himself. His second year playing got off to a good start, but a stress fracture in his foot ended his season prematurely.

This was symbolic of the Knights disapointing 10-18 season, that they will look to bounce back from. Unfortunately for them it will be without Quinlan,  as he will be taking his talents to Plymouth State. His growth as a basketball player while at NECC is only matched by his growth as a person while here.  This was evident when he was asked about his experience as a NECC athlete, to which he repled, “Skills such as discipline and teamwork have taught me many lessons throughout my two seasons with this program. Coach Tardiff did so much to develop my ability as basketball player, but did even more to help develop me as a man off the court.”

This well though out and articulate response shows the heightened awareness and character development that Quinlan accrued while at NECC.  No more trying to be the class clown. Instead he is focused on basketball and academics. One would expect that he will continue to develop as man, and as basketball player, at his next stop. If it that turns out to be so, the Plymouth State has found itself a diamond in the rough.