Miami University Middletown’s men’s basketball team is getting a Northeastern connection.
Recent graduate Alex Smith will play basketball for the Thunderhawks. His coach? Bob Nocton, a 1972 graduate of Northeastern.
“I’m just ready and excited,” Smith said of playing in college.
Smith helped the Knights reach new heights his senior season.
He averaged 10.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2 steals per game for a team that won county, conference and sectional titles.
The Class 2A sectional championship was the first for Northeastern. The Knights also claimed the Wayne County Tournament title and went 7-0 for the top spot in the Tri-Eastern Conference.
“It meant a lot just because I was a senior,” Smith said of his stellar final season as a Knight.
“Just do what needs to be done. That was kind of the role that I had this year.”
Nocton’s Middletown program has seen its own share of successes. He has guided the Thunderhawks to multiple Ohio Regional Campus state championships.
Miami Middletown is a two-year school. Smith said he plans to become a history teacher.
“I just felt like I was going to get what I needed to move on in life,” Smith said of selecting Middletown. “I think I have a better opportunity to move on and pursue my dream as a basketball player.”
Middletown finished 18-8 in the 2013-14 season and won the Ohio Regional Campus state title with a 93-77 victory over Ohio State Newark.
Northeastern coach Brent Ross is glad to see two former Knights now with the Thunderhawks.
“I think that connection is great,” Ross said. “I know Bob came and watched him play several times this year.
“He (Alex) may have that opportunity to play as a freshman.”
Ross praised both Smith and his Northeastern teammate Corey Dingwerth, who will play at Anderson University.
“I think both of them have worked really hard over the last four years,” Ross said.