Riley Lodico’s passion for high school basketball motivated him to pursue a coaching opportunity with his former team this past year. Lodico’s enthusiasm for the sport will continue this coming season, when Lodico will serve as a student manager for the Northern Illinois University men’s basketball program under head coach Mark Montgomery.
Lodico played three years of varsity basketball at Rochelle Township High School, graduating in 2018 before beginning his academic studies at Kishwaukee College. Lodico spent one season as assistant coach for the Hub sophomores this past year, helping the team compile a 24-5 record and bring home the program’s first conference championship in 11 years. Lodico said he’s currently studying to earn his bachelor’s degree in sport management from NIU.
“I hope to be a manager for the rest of my time at NIU and just learn as much as I can about the game of basketball,” Lodico said. “My dream is to coach college basketball someday. But I’m focused on my role with the team right now. I was super excited to get started and learn more about the game of basketball. It’s a grind but I love every second of it. I’m just looking forward to helping out the team in any way possible and doing my job as a manager.”
Lodico said he learned about the student manager position through his former AAU basketball coach Joe Conroy, who connected him with Montgomery at NIU. Lodico said his responsibilities as student manager include setting up and breaking down practices, rebounding for players, helping during drills and filming practices. NIU hosts UIC for its first home game on Nov. 25.
“What motivated me was having aspirations to work in college basketball and learn more about the game,” Lodico said. “My old AAU coach Joe Conroy knows coach Montgomery and he got me connected with him about being a manager. The job as manager has a lot to do with setting up for practice and putting stuff away after practice. Rebounding for guys. Doing a lot of film work like filming practices. Also helping in drills if needed.”