Basketball has been a big part of Mike Iuzzolino,Jr. and his the life of his family.
His father, Mike Iuzzolino, Sr. started his career at Penn State before transferring to St. Francis, where he went on to become NEC Player of the Year in 1991, before being drafted in the second round of the 1991 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. After spending two years with the Mavericks, Iuzzolino then played overseas in Italy and Spain.
After the end of his playing career, he spent two years as an assistant coach with Canisius from 2014-16 and since then Iuzzolino has been a member of Andy Toole’s coaching staff at Robert Morris.
Mike Iuzzolino Jr. started his high school basketball career at North Allegheny before receiving an opportunity to join Canterbury, a prep school in Connecticut. The junior guard will eventually play college basketball. On Wednesday, Iuzzolino received earned his first Division I offer from the Robert Morris Colonials.
“Getting a scholarship offer is someone that I dreamed about since I was a little kid,” said Iuzzolino. “I’ve always been around basketball and I’ve always wanted to one day play Division-1 basketball. Playing at the highest level possible has always been a goal of mine.”
“It’s funny because everyone thinks my dad had something to do with it, but he had nothing to do with it. He actually wanted nothing to do with offering me and didn’t want to be involved. Coach Toole was the one that actually called and offered me the scholarship. He told me that I’m someone that’s able to make a lot of shots at a high percentage, someone that can make tough shots, he likes how competitive and my work ethic. I’ve worked to get to this point because I’m in the gym every single day shooting and lifting, I don’t take days off. He told me that if I do end up going to RMU, that I have a chance to really help them and hopefully one day win championships.”
You’d think that having your father being on the staff that offered you, would give you an indication or hint that an offer could be coming but Iuzzolino said that wasn’t the case.
“I thought that an offer could be a possibility at some point because of the way I worked and what I’ve shown on the court but the news from Coach Toole came as a little bit of a surprise.”
Iuzzolino said that this opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing college basketball might never have happened without the opportunity that presented itself at Canterbury.
“I started out my first couple years at North Allegheny and it’s crazy that I didn’t start varsity until halfway through my sophomore season,” said Iuzzolino. “Then this opportunity to come to Connecticut came happened and I took it. I went there and we won a Class B Championship and I was named All-New England and am rated the No. 3 rated shooting guard in Connecticut right now. That opportunity to go there and play against such great players has been such a blessing for me. WPIAL basketball is good but this opportunity was so much better and was beneficial for me.”
Iuzzolino has one more season at Canterbury and then has to decide if he’ll take the opportunity to be coached by his father, something that he admits has been a life-long dream.
“When I’m talking to schools, they’re always like, “Aren’t you just going to go with your father at RMU?’ but that’s not the case,” the younger Iuzzolino said. “RMU is just like every other school to me. This will have nothing to do with my dad, I’m going to go where I fit in best.”