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video: 78’s Set to Bring Professional Basketball Back to Worcester

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Jose Cruz Jr.

Professional basketball is back in Worcester.

The Worcester 78’s will open their first season in the American Basketball Association (ABA) on November 5 at the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester.

The 78’s are Worcester first professional basketball team since 1989.

"It means something to me to bring a team to the city, and where we are playing and what we are doing for the community, as well as, Boys and Girls Club is also very important for me. We will see how city accepts it," 78's President and Owner Tom Marino told GoLocal. 

Forming the 78’s

The 78’s were established in July of 2017 after completing a pilot season in the ABA in 2016-17 as the New England Anchors.

They finished with seven wins and four losses.

During the off-season following the 2016-17 season, Marino set a goal of finding a permanent home in Worcester.

Along with the announcement of the team in July, it was also announced they had an agreement with Boys & Girls Club of Worcester to host its home games at the Club’s Tainter Street headquarters.

Recent Signing

Most recently, the 78’s announced the signing of Shrewsbury High School alum Jose Cruz Jr.

Cruz is a 6'7” forward and has a 28” standing vertical, giving him the ability to play above the rim.

“Jose is a perfect fit for the mold of player we want to attract to our team: a good man who is smart, works hard and is active in the basketball community. He is frighteningly athletic for his frame, can defend several positions and can win tough rebounds against anyone,” said Marino.

Cruz graduated from Shrewsbury High in 2010 after being a two-time league All-Star and helping the team win a title in 2010.

He spent the next year at Worcester Academy, winning the Lawson Riley Award.

He graduated from NCAA Division II Southern Connecticut State University in 2015.


The original ABA was launched in 1967 and played nine seasons. The league produced NBA stars such as Moses Malone and Julius “Dr. J” Erving.

Today ’s version of the league has more than 100 teams across the United States. It is the largest and most diverse sports league in the world. 


Related Slideshow: 10 Biggest Games in Holy Cross Basketball History

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March 1, 1975

Holy Cross vs Army - The final game at the Worcester Auditorium

Holy Cross beat Army 89-73 in the final game at the Worcester Auditorium. 

The Crusaders were coached by George Blaney and went 229-64 in the building all-time. 

PHOTO: Tunnelbug/flickr

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Feb, 14, 2001 

Holy Cross vs Navy 

Holy Cross clinches the programs first ever Patriot League Regular season title beating Navy 77-67 on the road. 

Josh Sankes led Holy Cross that season. 

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March 9, 2001

Holy Cross vs. Navy - Patriot League Championship

Holy Cross beats Navy 68-64 in overtime to win the Patriot League Championship. 

Ralph Willard was the head coach.

PHOTO: College Hoop Hits

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March 9, 2007

Bucknell vs Holy Cross - Patriot League Championship 

The Crusaders hosted the Patriot League Championship game at the Hart Center and defeated Bucknell 74-66.

Keith Simmons led Holy Cross in the game.

PHOTO: Wikipedia 

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March 10, 1993 

Holy Cross vs Bucknell - Patriot League Championship 

The Crusaders won their first Patriot league title beating Bucknell 98-73.

Rob Feaster was named tournament MVP after pouring in 66 points and recording 9 steals in three games. 

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March 5, 1977 

Holy Cross vs. #8 Providence in ECAC Championship 

Holy Cross defeated Providence 68-67 on a buzzer beater by Chris Potter to win ECAC Championship and advance to NCAA Tournament for first time in 21 years. 

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Feb 17, 1990

Holy Cross vs. Army MAAC North Championship game

Holy Cross rolled Army 86-68 and clinched the MAAC North title.

The title was the program's first conference championship. 

Dwight Pernell led Holy Cross with 22 points in the game. 

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March 13,1977

 Holy Cross vs Michigan in NCAA Tournament

The game marked Holy Cross' first NCAA Tournament appearance in 21 seasons. 

After leading 72-70 with less than 5 minutes to play, the Crusaders fell 92-81. 

Holy Cross was led that season by Ronnie Perry, however, he was injured for this game. 

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March 13,1954  

Holy Cross vs Duquesne - NIT Championship game

Holy Cross won the NIT Championship game 71-62 over Duquesne. 

The Crusaders were led by Togo Palazzi who was named MVP of the tournament.

Palazzi went as the number one pick in the NBA Draft to the Boston Celtics a couple of months later.

PHOTO: Goholycross.com

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March 20, 1948

Holy Cross vs Kentucky in National Semifinal 

Led by Bob Cousy, the Crusaders had won 20 straight games coming into the national semifinal against Kentucky. 

Holy Cross lost to kentucky 60-52 


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