THERE WILL BE four generations of Phil Martellis at most Saint Joseph's basketball games this season _ the coach's father, the coach, the coach's oldest son and the coach's grandson, a presence by his grandfather's side at many postgame news conferences in recent seasons.
Phil Martelli Jr., who played on teams with some of the great players in Saint Joseph's history, including Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, is returning to his alma mater at the director of basketball operations. If you think there is nepotism involved, think again. Phil Jr. is actually overqualified for the position. Since graduating from SJU in 2003, Martelli has been on an assistant coaching odyssey, taking him to Central Connecticut State, Manhattan, Niagara, Delaware and, most recently, a season with the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers' G-League affiliate.
The Hawks' bench is already packed with three supremely talented assistants in Mark Bass, Dave Duda and Geoff Arnold. When Phil Jr. went to CCSU in 2003, he was the youngest assistant in Division I at just 22. He returns to SJU with 14 years of coaching experiences.
"It's neat for obviously my family, but it's a big deal for the program,'' his father said. "I think he's going to go above and beyond because of how Saint Joseph's has treated him.''
Martelli agreed that his son is overqualified for the position.
"There is no question about that,'' he said. "That's been part of the concerns. It's not (just) basketball operations. It's director of basketball programming, so he's going to be very engaged with former players and very engaged with moving us forward.''
By rule, the director of ops can't "coach'' on the floor, but Martelli said he will make sure his son "feels a connection with basketball."
"He's going to watch a lot of what we call unsolicited DVDs that come in and things like that,'' Martelli said.