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Nick Palumbo climbed up the ranks with the Westbrook boys’ basketball team and is now leading the Knights as a senior captain this winter. (Photo courtesy of Nick Palumbo )
From an early age, Nick Palumbo knew that he was destined to play basketball. Nick grew up around the sport after his mother Michelle Palumbo (Pfaff) played point guard for the Westbrook girls’ basketball team from 1987 to 1990, leading the Knights to a pair of state championships.
Michelle taught Nick all that she knew about basketball, and her love for the game carried on to the next generation. Now a senior at Westbrook High School, Nick is leading the boys’ basketball team as a captain, while playing both center and forward for the Knights.
“Since my mom was the starting point guard for Westbrook, when they won all those state and Shoreline championships, you could say basketball was in my blood,” Nick says. “I started playing at a young age on Saturday mornings at park and rec. I also practiced in the driveway with my mom. My passion for the game has only grown over the years.”
Nick enjoys numerous aspects of playing basketball. More than anything, Nick loves competing alongside his friends on the court.
“There’s many aspects of basketball that I enjoy, but being able to go out and compete and have fun with my friends is by far my favorite,” says Nick. “It’s one thing to win games, but to win a game with a group of friends, that’s a special moment to share.”
Westbrook Head Coach Jeff Beeman saw the potential in Nick when Nick entered the program as a freshman. Four years later, Beeman describes the senior captain as a “coach’s dream.” In Westbrook’s 73-62 win over Old Lyme on Feb. 16, Nick went 6-of-8 from the free throw line and hit two shots in the fourth quarter to solidify the victory for the Knights.
“He’s hardworking, respectful, and coachable. He always knows where to be in our offensive and defensive schemes,” Beeman says of Nick. “He’s shown steady improvement on the court throughout his career and earned a starting spot as a senior this year. The staff has so much respect for him and his commitment that we named him our second captain.”
Nick credits Coach Beeman for shaping his game into what it is today. One of Nick’s main goals as a freshman was to improve every time that he stepped foot on the court. Nick feels that he’s accomplished that goal with Beeman’s assistance.
“Since freshman year, Coach Beeman has pushed me to improve my game and has always encouraged me to get better. I have a lot of respect for Coach Beeman and admire his knowledge of the game of basketball, which is like no other coach I’ve ever had,” Nick says. “Over the last four years with Coach Beeman, I have been able to make tremendous strides within the game of basketball. He is a great coach.”
In addition to basketball, Nick also plays soccer and baseball for the Knights. Nick is an honors student at Westbrook and enjoys volunteering in his community. In his spare time, Nick likes to go boating with his family.
As Westbrook enters the second half of the season, Nick wants to see the Knights show continual improvement through playing fundamental team basketball. The Knights have games coming up against East Hampton, Haddam- Killingworth, Morgan, North Branford, and Old Saybrook during the home stretch of their campaign.
“I expect us to win some basketball games, as long as we play like a team on both sides of the ball and do the basic fundamentals of the game,” says Nick. “I believe we have the capability of being a great basketball team and we can compete with every team in the Shoreline Conference.”