In this series, we’ll be giving props to some of the best assistants in college basketball.
For each conference, I polled at least 20 coaches (primarily assistants) and asked for them to name the top assistant coaches in their respective league. Is it a perfect way of determining the elite assistants? Maybe not, but it seems far more accurate than any other method.
I’ve also made sure to include some info on each coach that’s recognized — as well as quotes from both their boss and another assistant in the league.
Mike Iuzzolino, Robert Morris (Just joined the Horizon League.) | The Altoona High standout started his career at Penn State and graduated from Saint Francis in 1991. He played professionally for over a decade, including a stint with the Dallas Mavericks. He was an assistant coach for the Duquesne women’s team from 2005-07, and the George Mason’s women’s team in 2007-08. He then became the associate head coach at Saint Vincent College from 2008-12 before spending 2012-13 as the director of basketball operations at Canisius and 2013-14 as the DOBO at New Mexico. He returned to Canisius as an assistant from 2014-16 and then came to RMU in 2016.
“He knows the game inside and out, takes pride in everyone he recruits and evaluates, puts winning and the program above everything else! Knows, loves, and works at it as hard as anyone I have been around! A head-coach-in-waiting!” – Robert Morris coach Andy Toole
“Mike goes about his business the right way in getting stuff done. His knowledge from playing at the highest level and being the Player of the Year in the NEC is invaluable to the staff. He had been a huge part of Robert Morris’ success over the last couple of years, leading up to the NEC Tournament championship this year!” – NEC assistant
Bruce Hamburger, Fairleigh Dickinson | Hamburger graduated from Kean in 1984 and has had assistant stops at Trenton State, Seton Hall, the New York Liberty, Caldwell and Saint Peter’s. Hamburger, who was also the head coach at his alma mater from 1995-2006, has been at Fairleigh Dickinson since 2014.
“When Bruce told me he wanted to come to FDU with me when I first got the job here, I knew exactly what I was getting. Bruce is a true professional that had incredible experience and a knowledge of the state of New Jersey like no other. He was a perfect match for me and for our program.” – Fairleigh Dickinson coach Greg Herenda
“He has played a huge part in the success they have had year in and year out. Great guy with tons of experience and knowledge of the game.” – NEC assistant
Donald Copeland, Wagner* | The Jersey City native played at St. Anthony High for Bob Hurley Sr. and then at Seton Hall. He played professionally overseas for nearly a decade and then joined Wagner as a graduate manager before becoming an assistant for Bashir Mason in 2017.
“It’s in Donald’s DNA to coach. He’s the son of a coach, played for Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. and competed at the highest levels throughout Europe. He does it all for us: recruiting, player development and [has an] outstanding relationship with the guys.” – Wagner coach Bashir Mason
“He’s fairly new to coaching, but you can just tell how much the players respect him. It’ll take more time for him on the recruiting front, but he’s a guy who knows the game so well and will make guys better.” – NEC assistant
Will Holland, Mount St. Mary’s* | Holland graduated from Mount St. Mary’s in 2010, then played professionally for a few years, including overseas in Portugal and a stint with the Washington Generals. He was an assistant at Saint Francis for three seasons before returning to his alma mater in 2016. Holland was promoted to associate head coach in 2018.
“Will has an elite basketball mind and feel for the game. He oversees our offense, and his attention to detail is what separates him. He is one of the best in the country in developing the fundamentals and skill of our players. The Mount has seen many players develop into top-level players in the NEC and a lot of that has to do with Will.” – Mount St. Mary’s coach Dan Engelstad
“He has made a huge difference in their program. Does a great job with their offense and working to make their players better.” – NEC assistant
Clive Bentick, St. Francis Brooklyn** | The former Canisius star graduated in 2001 and had assistant stints at his alma mater (2004-06) and Le Moyne (2006-07) before arriving in Brooklyn Heights in 2007. Bentick was elevated to associate head coach in 2019.
“Impeccable character, reliable, excellent work ethic, terrific basketball mind. As good as anyone in the country with scouting reports! Contributes to all facets of the program, gets along well with everyone in and outside of the basketball community. Team guy!” – St. Francis Brooklyn coach Glenn Braica
“Clive has an energy and passion about him. I also know him to be a grinder. [I] think what he has [to offer as a coach] goes into creating a culture of toughness and hard work.” – NEC assistant
Phil Martelli Jr., Bryant** | The son of former St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli, Phil Jr. graduated from his dad’s then-school in 2003. He was an assistant at Central Connecticut (2003-05), Manhattan (2005-06), Niagara (2006-11) and Delaware (2011-16). He worked during the 2016-17 campaign for the Delaware 87ers before spending the 2017-18 season at St. Joe’s as the director of program administration. He joined the Bryant staff in 2018.
“Phil is a future head coach, who is a total professional as an assistant coach. He is organized and has a great rapport with our players. Being a coach’s son, Phil is a gym rat who loves being on the floor getting guys better.” – Bryant coach Jared Grasso
“He’s obviously got the bloodlines, but he’s a guy who you can tell clicks with the players and just knows the game.” – NEC assistant
*Two-way tie for third place.
**Two-way tie for fifth place.