Iona’s Glover comes full circle
Talk to most college seniors and they realize they are on the precipice of entering the real world where responsibilities are amped up.
Talk to Iona University senior and star basketball player Mike Glover Sr., he’s already at the precipice and beyond.
Talk to Glover Sr. about his son, his namesake, Mike Glover Jr., his smile reverberates through the Hynes Center in New Rochelle, N.Y.
“My son is everything to me,” Glover said recently after a home game. “My son and his mom, Alissa (Carter), are my priorities. Its amazing how quickly you have to grow up once you have a kid; he’s already growing up quick.”
For Mike Sr., who was named to the All Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Team for the second consecutive year, this season thus far has been a tremendous one on the court.
He’s averaging 18.1 points a game and 9.1 rebounds for a Gaels team that finished the regular season with an impressive 24-6 overall record, winning the MAAC regular season title with a record of 15-3 and enters this weekend’s conference tournament as the prohibitive favorites. The MAAC Tournament begins Friday in Springfield, Mass. No. 1 seed Iona will play Saturday against No. 8 Marist .
“One of our goals is to always to win the regular season title but the one we want is the conference tournament,” Glover said. “Last year, we got a taste of what it’s like to play in the championship game and anything less than winning the conference tournament this season will be a disappointment.”
The Gaels lost to St. Peter’s in last year’s MAAC tournament final.
Iona, which boasts one of the nation’s best backcourts in senior point guard Scott Machado (13.1 points, 10.1 assists, the nation’s highest per game total) and talented junior shooting guard Lamont Jones (16.2 points), an Arizona transfer and a deep rotation that features nine players, gets its fortitude down low from Glover. The 6-8 quick-footed forward is equally adapt at finishing on the break or in the half court attack against taller players.
“He’s an animal down low when he wants to be,” Jones said. “He can do it all; I’d take him over any big guy in the country right now. There are not a lot of big guys out there that can do what he does.”
The Gaels love to get up and down the court under successful second-year coach Tim Cluess, who came to the job after Kevin Willard left for Seton Hall. The Gaels lead the country in points per game at 83.4. They hung 98 on St. Peter’s in their last game of the regular season game. In the 37-point victory, Iona went on a 31-0 run to take control of the game.
When you have Machado, a magician with the basketball, and a guy like Glover down low that can finish at the rim, it makes for wonderful chin music to basketball fans who enjoy the up and down game.
“He catches everything that comes to him,” Machado said. “He’s a terrific finisher. That’s what all point guards want; someone down low like Mike Glover.”
Glover has been working hard on his game for the betterment of his team and for his future in the game. He has worked to become a better face up post player and on improving his range from the perimeter.
“The NBA or pro ball is always in the back of your mind,” Glover said. “If you work hard in college and work at your overall game, it allows you a chance to make it professionally.”
Scouts and NBA general managers have been commonplace at the Hynes Center this season. It’s tough not to notice stroll by and observing some of the best in the business sitting courtside, like San Antonio Spurs general manager RC Buford, who recently took in an Iona game earlier in February.
“You can’t concentrate on who’s there watching you because you can lose focus,” Glover said. “The main thing is helping your team out the best you can.”
Between juggling schoolwork, a promising basketball career and a son, Glover is taking it all in as the days wind down in his collegiate basketball career.
“This is it for me as a college player,” Glover said. “You have to take it all in because it’s comes at you and goes by you so fast.
“To have my son here, Alissa, and family and friends, I could’ve not asked for a better experience; it’s a blessing,” Glover Sr. said. “We are a family here at Iona. The coaching staff, my teammates and the fans are tremendous.”
Glover, whose older brother, Anthony, was a star player at St. John’s, originally committed to Seton Hall in 2006 while attending the American Christian (Pa), which no longer exists. He played at several high schools, including three years at James Monroe High School in the Bronx.
After one year at Seton Hall – Glover didn’t play because he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA – he landed at ASA, a junior college in Brooklyn. After there, he went west to the College of Eastern Utah. While there, he was away from his son.
“It was tough to be far away from my son,” Glover Sr. said.
After a solid season in Utah, Glover committed to St. Francis of New York. But a coaching change there reopened his options. He landed at Iona.
“My journey to get here was a long one,” Glover Sr. admits. “But it was meant to be because you learn fast when life throws you a challenge. I would not be the person I am today without having gone through the road I’ve been on.”