Studyin' at the Old School: Mike Iuzzolino and Desi Wilson
Back in the 1990-91 season, every college hoop head knew Mike Iuzzolino and Desi Wilson, including me, the kid who'd never been to Pennsylvania or New Jersey where these guys attended school.
But I devoured Street & Smith's college basketball magazine, Blue Ribbon and Athlon, and caught everything I could on ESPN. During ESPN's iconic Championship Week, I still remember tuning in to see Iuzzolino's unconscious three-point shooting performance, which was simply an extension of everything he had been doing in his All-America career with the St. Francis (PA) College Red Flash. The Northeast Conference tournament championship pitted the Red Flash against Wilson's Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. Wilson was an FDU legend who left as the school's all-time leading scorer. What I thought was really cool about the 6-foot-7 Wilson, though, was his talent on the baseball field.
I remember the Texas Rangers drafted him that summer, and I was always curious to know how his career would play out. That was difficult to follow back in the days before the internet. He broke into the big leagues in 1996 with the San Francisco Giants and played in 41 games. Now he's a hitting instructor with the Chicago Cubs' Triple A team in Iowa.
As for Iuzzolino, he's been an assistant coach at Robert Morris University the past few years, still connected to the conference he lit up as a player.
After St. Francis knocked off FDU, they trimmed Fordham in a play-in game to get into the NCAA Tournament against Arizona. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we can enjoy all of this footage immediately, replete with those fantastic old-school ESPN graphics and the CLASSIC old ESPN college basketball music. Really brings it home.
Iuzzolino, incidentally, moved on to the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks as an undrafted free agent. Many people remember him as Derek Harper's wing man on the NBA JAM arcade game.