Evan Conti’s first experience playing high school basketball came with the freshman team at Holy Cross High School in Queens.
The head coach of that squad? Current NYIT head coach Kevin Hamilton.
Now, the duo is reunited with the NYIT men’s basketball team.
Hamilton has hired the 25-year-old Conti as an assistant coach with the Bears.
Conti’s résumé includes playing in 121 career games as a guard over four seasons at Division I Quinnipiac, then playing professionally for three Israeli clubs — Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Hapoel Afula and Hapoel Migdal Haemek.
Conti averaged 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game as senior with Quinnipiac in 2014-15. That included a 26-point performance against Niagara.
Conti had indicated to Hamilton this past summer that he wanted to pursue a coaching career when he finished playing professionally. Hamilton then invited Conti to have that first opportunity with him and the Bears.
“He was my first coach and jumpstarted my career,” Conti said. “It’s really cool that my first coaching job is with him, just like my first organized playing experience was with him. Basically, he helped me get prepared to play varsity basketball and set up the really good career I had at Holy Cross, and was a big reason I got to Quinnipiac. We always kept in touch.”
Hamilton, a former Iona star, even called a few of Conti’s collegiate games because the Gaels and Bobcats are in the same conference and Hamilton worked as an ESPN3 analyst for his alma mater.
The 6-foot-3 Conti’s 1,120 career points at Holy Cross High School rank fifth all time.
“Evan Conti is a great addition to our coaching staff,” Hamilton said. “He’s a former professional who will be great with teaching our players what it takes to be winners. I’m thrilled to have one of my former players start his coaching career with me at NYIT.”
Conti believes he particularly will be successful communicating with NYIT’s student-athletes because he is not far removed from his collegiate playing days and because he also has professional experience abroad that current Bears players would like to duplicate.
“I’ll be able to relate to the guys,” he said.