John Flowers remembers a pivotal moment in former WVU teammate Joe Mazzulla’s career.
It’s a moment every college athlete is bound to face at some point after his or her playing days end. A time when the athlete asks: “What do I do now?”
“When we first graduated — me, him and Da’Sean Butler — we were all sitting in a hotel room, just trying to figure out what we were gonna do next,” said Flowers, the former WVU forward. “This is before I went overseas, and he actually didn’t end up getting a job overseas. I remember he was just kind of lost, and he wanted to figure out what he wanted to do.”
Mazzulla quickly made the leap to coaching, an avenue that’s led him all the way to the NBA just eight years after making his final Mountaineer appearance. Earlier this month, Mazzulla joined the Boston Celtics’ staff as an assistant coach after making stops in the G-League and as the head coach at Fairmont State in the last three years.
“To see him make it to this level this early, at the age of 30, is just amazing to me,” said Flowers.
Mazzulla has quickly climbed the ranks to reach the highest level, but that’s not surprising to Butler, another former teammate.
“We all dream about that one way or another,” said Butler. “We all dream about playing in the NBA, getting there someway, somehow. Just to see him go from wanting to play professionally to figuring out, you know what, maybe I should do something else, and then just working his way.”
When he played on WVU’s Final Four team in 2010, Mazzulla was known as a smart and tenacious player. It’s that same work ethic, Butler says, that has paved Mazzulla’s path to the NBA.
“He’s been coaching for 9 or 10 years. This is something he has put the work in for,” said Butler. “He deserves everything, so as one of my best friends, I’m happy for him.”