It was quite a season for the Ridge Red Devils, who edged Don Bosco Prep 8-7 to win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions for the first time.
There were many key contributors to Ridge’s historic season, including JT Palladino.
The rising senior lefty attackman was the Red Devils’ leading scorer.
While defending the T of C title will be front and center on Palladino’s checklist for 2014, he’ll have plenty to look forward to after his final varsity season. Palladino has committed to the admissions process at Harvard University.
A natural lefty, Palladino is strong with either hand, a natural finisher and an effective rider.
What were the main factors in your decision?
I wanted to commit to a school that had strong academics but where I could play lacrosse at a very high level. After making my visit, I felt that Harvard is the best of both for me.
(Harvard Head) Coach (Chris) Wojcik has a strong vision of where the program is going. They play a great schedule and are bringing in top players. Additionally, I felt that the school really supports the team with the great facilities for its student athletes.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
My parents stressed the need to take my time and only commit when it felt right. I took longer than most players especially these days. I considered a number of Ivy League and Patriot League schools and met with some great coaches. I narrowed my list to Penn, Brown and Drexel before deciding on Harvard. I am excited for the opportunity.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
My greatest strength is probably my ability to finish. While I play predominantly lefty attack, I am strong with both hands. I would describe myself as a physical player who likes to ride, is good on ground balls and can uses my size to drive to the net.
My outside shot is pretty accurate as well. This season I got to play at X for the first time on my Ridge team and it helped to improve my field vision and overall IQ by seeing things from a different perspective.
What area of your game do you need to work on?
I am always looking to work hard and get better that’s the only way to get on the field in college. Fortunately, I’m still maturing, so as I continue to grow and develop, I need to work on my overall strength and improve my agility and quickness as well. These will help all aspects of my game, but especially my dodging and the speed of my shot.
How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
I started when I was in the third grade playing up while my dad coached. He grew up on Long Island playing lacrosse all the way into college. He coached a number of my youth team during the years.
My dad and brothers, Brandon and Chris, all played defense so that helped my development too. Being the youngest of three boys, made me work harder to prove myself. It’s a pretty competitive household to say the least. We all played lots of sports growing up but basketball and football were my favorites after lacrosse.
What travel team do you play on what showcase events did you participate in?
I’ve played for Leading Edge since I was in fifth grade. It’s been great and I have made a lot of good friends who are going to play at some strong lacrosse programs. I will be playing against a number of them in college. I have attended Maverick Showtime, Philly Showcase, NSCLA, Crabs City and King of the Hill to date.
Any final thoughts?
I’d like to thank my family, namely my parents for supporting me and encouraging me as well as my brothers, Brandon and Chris, for being hard on me to make me a tougher and better player.
I also appreciate all the help Coach Chris Roy of Leading Edge and Coach Ken Marsh of Ridge has been through the years in teaching me to be a better and more well-rounded player. They have been great through the whole recruiting process. I am really looking forward to playing in college for Coach Wocjik and the Crimson.
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