Emerson men’s basketball associate head coach Jack Barrett accompanied Bridgewater State University head basketball coach Joe Farroba to his annual camp in Anguilla this past August.
Barrett, 30, is in his fourth year in the basketball program at Emerson, moving up from assistant coach to associate head coach this past year. He played collegiately at both Franklin Pierce University and Wentworth Institute of Technology.
Anguilla is a British island in the Caribbean, just east of Puerto Rico, totaling in about 35 square miles of land. Boat racing is the national sport of the island, and rugby is also prominent, but basketball is a sport that many younger people play, allowing Farroba and his colleagues to spread their knowledge to approximately 60-80 kids every year.
“Friends of mine own property in Anguilla, so I went and met some people and some government officials down there and decided to start a basketball camp,” Farroba said.
The five coaches accompanying Farroba included Barrett, his brother Kevin Barrett and father Dave Barrett, and Oliver Ames High School head coach Don Byron and his son Mike Byron. Anguillan coaches also participated in the clinic.
The camp has been a family business for the Barrett’s since its start four years ago.
“This was my first time, but my father has been working the clinic since the beginning, so he asked me and my brother to go with him,” Barrett said.
According to Barrett, his father coached at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and then at Medford High School. His brother played at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Farroba remembered being surprised by the small number of people on the island.
When one of the instructors asked Farroba about the number of students at his school, he replied about 11,000. The instructor looked at Farroba and said, “Well, that’s the number of people we have on this island.”
Barrett said working with basketball players outside of the United States was eye-opening.
“It was a lot different seeing how they live,” Barrett said. “You see kids with no shoes, kids with one shoe and one bare foot, crooked hoops, but their spirits are as high as it gets.”
According to Farroba, Barrett was most beneficial to the clinic when he worked one-on-one with the players.
“He worked very well with the kids,” Farroba said. “Because it was all age groups—we go from ages 7 to 15 when we did station work—he would deal with kids of all ages. But he was just such a good motivator. He was doing drills with the kids, worked out with the kids, and gave them a really good idea of how the game should be played."
Barrett said the campers in Anguilla hadn’t been exposed to as much of the sport as their American counterparts.
“Seeing how hungry they were for instruction on basketball was amazing,” Barrett said. “We were showing them drills that coaches use all the time here in the U.S. Kids here can go on YouTube and watch these drills. The kids [in Anguilla] have never seen [them] before.”
When asked his favorite part of the whole experience, Barrett smiled.
“The way we were treated by the islanders—they compensated us for our dinners and always had fun activities planned for us,” Barrett said. “It was very cool to see the kids outside of the camp. They would run up to us on the beach and thank us and would be so happy to see us. They were just so appreciative.”