Parkland (Pa.) wing Sam Iorio (above) is headed to the Patriot League next year at American University. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Anthony Dabbundo (@AnthonyDabbundo)
Deciding where to continue both his or her education and sports at the collegiate level is one of the biggest decisions of a high school athlete’s life.
For Parkland’s Sam Iorio, there was one school, and one coach, who stood out by showing just how badly they wanted Iorio to choose them.
And on Tuesday night, the 6-foot-6 wing announced that he plans to continue the next chapter of his life at American University.
With most of the Patriot League interested in the services of the talented scorer, American head coach Mike Brennan knew he had to work tirelessly to ensure that Iorio was wearing American red, white, and blue come next fall.
Iorio was impressed by Brennan, who showed persistence in the recruitment process by making multiple trips from the nation’s capital, all the way to Allentown, Pa to watch and recruit the rising senior.
Once he stepped onto the campus, he knew that it was the perfect place for him to spend his collegiate life.
“I had my official visit this past weekend and it was perfect,” Iorio said. "The coaching staff is great, they have a lot of young guys with talent, and I think Washington D.C. is a great city with a lot to do.”
Despite receiving offers from numerous other schools, including Lehigh, Lafayette, Brown and Rider, Iorio was looking for a school that offered him a chance to compete on a team that was ready to win, and a coach that was willing to give him opportunities as soon as he arrived on campus in the fall of 2017.
“Playing time was a big factor for me,” Iorio acknowledged. “Coach [Brennan] said I could potentially start right away or get some solid minutes as a freshman, and I want to be able to make an impact and compete as soon as I can.”
Once the 6-6, 220-pound sharpshooter knew he’d get playing time at American, it was Brennan’s persistence that sealed the deal on his commitment.
“Last week he came up to my high school to work with me and look at film,” Iorio said. “Then I had my official visit there over this past weekend, and two days after the visit he came back to my high school to see me workout at our team’s open gym.”
“That showed me how dedicated he was and it showed me that they were the school for me.” he continued.
The grandson of former Villanova player Sam Iorio, the senior wing becomes the first commitment for the Eagles in the class of 2017.
The 2013-2014 Patriot League champs in Brennan's first year, American is coming off a 12-19 season, including a 9-9 mark in league play.
On the court, Iorio is a versatile player who is a proven scorer from both inside and out. Known best as a sharpshooter from both the mid-range and the three point line, Iorio has worked to improve his ability to beat defenders off the dribble. He competes as hard as anyone, and is willing to fight for big rebounds and play great hustle defense.
As the premier wing scorer enters his final year of high school, he’ll look for a repeat of last season, after he averaged 18 points per game en route to second team all-state honors at the AAAA level. Through just three years of high school, Iorio has already topped the one thousand point mark, currently sitting on 1,234 points.
But what may be most admirable about Iorio is both his off the court leadership, work ethic, and will to win. Throughout his high school career, he’s always been in a winning environment, and pushed himself and his teammates to work harder and get better every day.
Last season, Parkland reached the state quarterfinals, before losing to eventual state champion Roman Catholic. This year, they’ll look to Iorio to be a leader both on and off the court.
“Playing for the Jersey Shore Warriors and for my high school team, I’m in a winning environment a lot, and I just want to carry that onto both my senior year and my career at American.”
The Parkland star admits that the transition to Division 1 collegiate basketball won’t be easy, but he’s prepared to work through any challenge thrown his way.
“The overall speed of Division 1 basketball is a whole different game, I just need to prepare physically for the next level,” the future Eagle said. “I’ll do anything to help my game and to help my team win.”
And as if to prove it, Iorio celebrated his commitment by heading to an evening workout with his team.