REGION — When Greg Twomey played middle school basketball, a buzz surrounded him. It seems like just yesterday when the question being asked about his arrival at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School was “what level will he play at as a freshman?”
Since he made an impact at the high school varsity level in his first game as a freshman, the crescendo of the buzz has only increased. A brilliant high school career was followed up by an outstanding career in the tough confines of Division 2 basketball at Assumption College. He recently wrapped up his collegiate career as the Greyhounds made a spirited run in the NCAA Division 2 playoffs. Greg was a vital member of that team, providing leadership with hard work and a zest for the game, as well as filling up the stat sheet in all departments. If his team needed a key basket, rebound, assist, steal or a defensive stop, Greg had an uncanny knack of rising to the occasion.
Greg’s talent, versatility and team-oriented style played well at both the high school and college levels. He contributed in a number of departments and ways, showcasing the ability to do whatever was needed to make a difference.
“Greg holds the school record for minutes played,” said Assumption coach Serge DeBari. “The most important statistic for any player is minutes played because it means that player is productive. Greg was the ultimate production guy, capable of contributing in a number of categories.
“Everyone is called a player, but coaches reserve that for someone who can produce in a variety of ways,” said DeBari. “Greg is simply a player.”
Greg’s understanding about the game of basketball was in place early and he clearly made a big impression on Mike Flynn, who coached Greg on the Groton-Dunstable Middle School basketball team.
“I have never coached anyone with the combination of talent and sportsmanship that Greg had,” said Flynn. “As an eighth grader he would come up to me and say I’m okay, go ahead and take me out. He understood as an eighth grader what it is all about.
“I’m not surprised at all that he has had successful careers in high school and college,” said Flynn. “He has always been a team player who was mature beyond his years, and I think he made the right decision to go to Assumption.”
Greg was the cornerstone of high school teams that put Groton-Dunstable on the state map. He had the capability of playing any of the five positions on the court and was a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. His signature move was a tough drive to the basket, but throughout his high school career his outside shot continued to improve. His new-found ability to drain three-pointers only added versatility to the already imposing package.
Greg finished with a school record 1712 points and the Crusaders posted an 84-10 record over that four year span. Twice the Crusaders captured District championships and advanced into State Finals.
Despite being in Division 2, the Crusaders drew the short straw in both of their State Finals, being matched up with the best teams in the state in Charlestown and Walpole. In both games, Greg proved he could compete against the best in the state.
Thoughts now turned to college and the decision was made to attend Assumption College.
“The key to Greg’s decision was that he wanted to play,” said Joe Twomey, Greg’s father. “He wanted to be on the court right away.”
The decision paid off as Greg was an instant starter for the Greyhounds, but fate dealt him a setback when in the second game of his freshman season he tore his ACL. Basketball was put on hold.
“Greg suffered the injury in early November and wasn’t operated on until January,” said Joe Twomey. “He took the conservative approach in coming back, but he never varied from his devotion to basketball, even with the injury.”
Greg was granted an extra season of eligibility and there were a pair of changes in his sophomore season. First, he was required to wear a brace because of the injury, and second DeBari became the new head coach of the Greyhounds.
“My recovery from the injury was more mental than physical,” said Greg. “I took my time and did everything I was told to do. I realized I wasn’t the same player after the injury.”
“It is a credit to Serge that he accepted Greg,” said Joe Twomey. “We were relieved at the beginning of his sophomore season that things had returned to normal, and Greg enjoyed playing for coach DeBari.”
“Before my sophomore season, coach DeBari told me that it was time to give it a go because as much preparation after the injury as possible had been done,” said Greg.
After a 4-23 record in the 2004-05 season, DeBari’s first two teams finished with records of 7-20 and 11-17, but the building process had begun. Greg just missed leading the team in minutes played in the 2005-06 season, before topping that category in his final three collegiate seasons.
The Greyhounds broke through in 2007-08, finishing 24-11, including 14-8 in NE10 play, before adding a 23-10 season in 2008-09, including an Northeast-10 championship.
“I’m proud of the program progressing every year,” said Greg. “It was a weird situation when coach DeBari came in because none of us knew his style. We had heard great things and they turned out to be true. He was an Assumption guy and over the next four years we re-established tradition in the program. The first two years were tough. We were not winning and getting blown out, but everyone kept working hard and it paid off.”
“Greg has been the consummate leader and was a multi-year captain,” said DeBari. “He has set an example of how we want things done and the way Assumption basketall is played. Greg is very popular among his teammates and is quiet and unassuming. He came to play every day and practiced the way he played in games.
“Greg’s biggest weakness was not looking for his own shot at times,” said DeBari. “He is going to be tough to replace. Talent can be replaced, but replacing the character, leadership and presence that Greg has will be difficult.”
After a great run, the Twomey’s love affair with basketball will revolve around daughter Stasia, who plays at Worcester State.
“Stasia still has another year and that will keep us in the gym,” said Joe. “We have met some great people through the kids playing basketball throughout the years. My wife Gilda has really enjoyed the basketball thing with Greg, and now the challenge is to stay connected with all the people we have met.
“We are proud of Greg the basketball player, but we are more proud of Greg the person,” said Joe. “He has a different philosophy about basketball and life, and he just loves to play basketball.”
“I am 100 percent satisfied with the decisions I made,” said Greg. “Assumption was the right place for me and I have met some great people while I was here. I can remember my first Groton-Dunstable home game and it’s amazing how fast the time has flown by. I’m sad it’s over and I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do next, but I would like to stay involved with basketball somehow.”