August 2, 2017

Brackett Relished Facing Former TCNJ Teammates As Packer Hall Completed Unlikely Hoops Title Run

BRACKETT BUSTER: Nick Brackett, right, of Packer Hall All-Stars battles with Elias Bermudez of Majeski Foundation last Wednesday at the Community Park courts in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League best-of-three championship series. Brackett helped lead seventh-seeded Packer Hall to an unlikely title run as it swept top-seeded and defending champion Majeski to win the championship. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Nick Brackett enjoyed two campaigns with the The College of New Jersey men’s basketball team after transferring from Delaware State where he had played football.

So when Brackett’s Packer Hall All-Stars faced the Majeski Foundation, comprised of the TCNJ men’s hoops team, in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League best-of-three championship series last week, it was like going against his younger brothers.

“It was awesome, they are a great group of guys,” said the 6’4, 225-pound Brackett, a 2016 TCNJ grad who was the manager of the Packer Hall squad along with providing some muscle in the frontcourt.

“They are tough on the court so I wanted to play tough back. It looked like we are getting after it with each other but it is all love after the game. It was a great time.”

Packer Hall, which also included two other TCNJ alums, Kevin Johnson and Sean Kelly, didn’t seem to have a great chance to make it to the championship series against top-seeded and defending champion Majeski, having gone 2-6 in regular season and getting seeded seventh for the playoffs.

“We had a rough couple of games and then we got to add Khalid Lewis and Reggie Coleman; they were big for us,” said Brackett.

“They played together in high school. I have known them for a while and their competitive nature. We don’t want to lose and then we went on a run in the playoffs.”

The run ended in a blaze of glory as Packer Hall upset Majeski 30-29 in game one and then came back last Wednesday to post a 46-43 win to earn the title.

In the title clincher, the Packer Hall squad made one final display of resilience, overcoming a 38-30 deficit with seven minutes left in regulation to pull out the win and earn the title.

In Brackett’s view, the team’s blend of desire and chemistry fueled the late rally.

“We said we don’t want to come back on Friday, you could just tell by our defense, we really wanted it,” said Brackett.

“For the most part, we all knew each other. So the camaraderie that we had and the fact that we love basketball made us want to get after it.”

After a rocky start this summer, Packer Hall knew that it had to get more intense on the court.

“Corey Thomas and I talked in the beginning of the year when we were 0-3, and we said we have got to get tough, we have got to want this,” recalled Brackett.

“Yeah it is a summer league but we have got pride and it was a big pride thing.”

In reflecting on the unlikely title run, which left Packer Hall with a final record of 6-6, Brackett showed his pride in what the squad accomplished this summer.

“This is great; as an underdog, it is big,” said a smiling Brackett. “We were a seven seed and no one expected us to do this; everyone is surprised that we won this. I love it.”