Hopkinton’s Hanlon inspired by his father

Barrett Hanlon, leading Coast Conference men’s player.
Rob McGuinness
Barrett Hanlon, leading Coast Conference men’s player.

Hopkinton’s Hanlon inspired by father

When the going gets tough, Barrett Hanlon, a sophomore point guard and leading scorer for Salve Regina University, draws strength from the memory of his father.

“He coached me in youth basketball and always said that if something bad happens, just keep going and stay mentally tough,’’ said Hanlon, a Tri-Valley League MVP at Hopkinton High. “He was and always will be the most important person in my life.’’

Dan Hanlon, who also played the guard position, led Andrean High School to the Indiana state playoffs in 1980 and 1981 before playing at Franklin College in his home state. He died in November 2010, when Barrett was a high school junior.


His son, a transfer to Salve Regina from Division 2 Bentley University, was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference’s Player of the Week in men’s basketball after scoring a career-best 32 points to pace the Seahawks to a 88-81 win at Gordon College on Feb. 15.

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It was his third game back after a five-game hiatus while the 6-foot, 175-pound Hanlon recuperated from a torn knee cartilage that will require surgery after the season.

Salve Regina was 2-3 during Hanlon’s absence. When he’s in the lineup, the Seahawks have gone 13-5.

“We’re definitely a different team without him,’’ said Salve Regina head coach Sean Foster. “In his first game back after the injury I thought I’d go easy on him, and all he did was take over the game, and score 20 points in 21 minutes and grab 12 rebounds.

“He’s everything I anticipated when I was recruiting him out of high school — and more,’’ added Foster. “At first I just wanted Barrett to learn the offense and pressure the other team’s point guard, but he has become our go-to scorer and our offense runs through him.’’


Hanlon, who wore his father’s uniform number 12 in high school, said his most memorable moment on a basketball court occurred in February 2011 when Hopkinton High paid tribute to Dan Hanlon before a game against league opponent Medfield.

Hanlon, also a football standout for the Hillers, scored 24 points in that contest (a 73-63 win), including 16 in the fourth quarter.

A team captain and Globe All-Scholastic, Hanlon, who had helped lead the Hopkinton basketball team deep into the postseason his junior and senior years, showed his mettle when, after breaking his right wrist, he played four games of his senior season shooting with his left hand, averaging 20 points during the span.

“I saw that toughness in him and really wanted him in our program,’’ said Foster, whose team plays in the NCAA’s Division 3, “but I had to wait.’’

Hanlon decided to try to make the Bentley squad as a walk-on last year, and although he played in just one game, he said the experience was invaluable.


“Just practicing at that level and playing with those guys made me a better player,’’ Hanson said. Bentley’s coach, Jay Lawson, “was great to me there and he wanted me to stay, but I knew I could play right away at Salve Regina and really liked the school and the program.’’

He was also hungry to get back on the court and contribute, so last summer, he practiced on his own at a church gym in Hopkinton, was a counselor at the Bentley basketball camp, and scrimmaged with the Falcons.

“I couldn’t wait for this season to start,’’ said Hanlon, who wears the same uniform number (31) as he did at Bentley. It’s a reminder, he said, “of where I’ve been and how far I want to go.

“I’ve been welcomed here at Salve by a great bunch of guys and it’s my goal to contribute to their success.’’

After he scored 23 points in a season-opening win against Johnson & Wales, Hanlon received a text message of congratulations from Lawson.

“That meant a lot to me. I was treated well at Bentley,’’ said Hanlon, who, through last weekend, was leading Salve in points (18.2 per game), steals (2.6), and field goal percentage (53.8), and was third in rebounding (5.2).

His teammates include Medfield’s Patrick Dinneen, a senior wing guard who graduated from Xaverian High, senior captain and power forward Jeff Bielefeld out of Littleton High, and sophomore guard and sixth man Chris O’Keefe (Lexington High).

Dinneen, a four-year starter, was second in scoring with 16.1 points per game, and Bielefeld was next while averaging 13.2 points and shooting 53 percent, and was tops on the squad with 9 rebounds per game.

“Patrick is very athletic and a solid defender who guards the other’s team’s perimeter threat and he does a little of everything offensively,’’ Foster said. “Jeff is a weight room animal and everything you could want from an inside player. He scores a ton on offensive rebounds. And Chris gives us great energy and should have a more expanded role as his career progresses.’’

Here and there

Stonehill College junior All-American Nick Staley of Medway (BC High) was named Northeast-10 Conference Field Athlete of the Week after winning the high jump with a season-best 6 feet 10.75 inches at the Tufts University Cupid Challenge. . . . Babson College freshman forward Joey Flannery (Acton-Boxborough Regional/Taft School) was honored as the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Player of the Week for men’s basketball, after he averaged 20 points and 6.5 rebounds in wins over Springfield and Clark.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.