Petaluma grad Isetta earns a spot on Holy Cross College roster

Petaluma High School graduate Robbie Isetta is having a bit of a hard time getting his college basketball career started, but that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying the experience or pursuing a satisfying future.

Isetta, a 2019 graduate, is now playing at Holy Cross College in South Bend, Ind. Holy Cross is a brother school to the University of Notre Dame. The Saints are a NAIA team and defending basketball champions of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

After red shirting his first year out of Petaluma High, Isetta made the team last season as a true freshman and was in line for playing time for a 9-3 (as of Tuesday) team as a sophomore before reinjuring a calf muscle he first hurt last October.“ It is definitely a bummer,” he said. “I looked forward to being on the court with my friends.”

And, of course, the injury comes during the coronavirus pandemic. Indiana doesn’t have the strict restrictions that are in effect in California, and most sports, including college basketball, are allowed to be played. Still, there are restrictions, and contact between students, and that includes athletes, is limited. “We don’t have the communication with one another like before,” Isetta said. “It has taken away some of our team chemistry. We have to do our part.”

Isetta credits his red-shirt season for helping him make the leap from high school to college basketball. “My red shirt year really helped me improve my skill level and get a better understanding of the game. There is a big transition from high school to college. I knew there would be a jump, but I wasn’t expecting such a big jump,” he said.

Also different is the Indiana weather. “Last year, I wasn’t ready for the weather,” Isetta admitted. “I was always checking the weather back home. I wasn’t prepared to get 4 to 6-inches of snow overnight.”

Indiana schools, including Holy Cross, are open for in-class instruction, and Isetta is making the most of his college education. A business major with a minor in sports management, the Petaluman acknowledges that he got off to a slow academic start as he learned to manage classroom work with basketball and the move to a new environment. However, by his last quarter, he had a 3.6 GPA and had fulfilled his goal of making the dean’s list.

While Isetta garnered deserved notice as a sharp-shooting guard on the Petaluma High basketball team, he credits football with giving him the intangibles to keep improving. “What really helped me was football, especially my senior year. It helped make me into the person I wanted to be,” he said. I owe a lot to coach Krist (head coach Rick) and coach Stanley (strength and conditioning coach Jeff).”

Also important in helping shape Isetta into a college basketball player was his family – father Andy, mother Stacey and younger sisters Alyssa, 18, and Emilly, 15.

“Not only are my parents the best parents a son could ask for, they are two of my best friends,” the player said. They are the reason I am doing the best I can in the classroom and on the court. They are my motivation.”

Although Isetta has already achieved much as he made the big leap from high school to a strong college basketball program, but he is poised for even more. Like many, the thing he wants most now is no problems. “I’m just trying to get in a full season, get my health back and get back to normalcy,” he said.

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