Summit’s very own Wellington Smith will be honored by the Summit Boys’ Basketball Program tonight just before the team’s 7 p.m. game versus David Brearley at Summit High School.
A local legend most Hilltoppers know well, Smith led the team to their state Sectional Championships in 2004 and 2005, said Head Coach David White. After graduating in 2005 from Summit High School, Smith attended Blair Academy for a post-graduate year and led its basketball team to a Prep School Championship.
The 6’7” forward received a full athletic scholarship to West Virginia University, where he played with the Mountaineers in the NIT Championship and three trips to the NCAA tournament, including the Final Four in his senior season, White said. He had a potential pro career that was derailed by injury.
“That, in and of itself, is an unusual tale,” White said. “He is such an outstanding young man. With what he was giving back to the community and the efforts he was making to further Summit Basketball, I just felt it was really important that we acknowledge all he’s done and continues to do. That was something we decided to do this year and we chose Friday night to do it.”
White, who is in his first year of coaching the Summit Boys’ Basketball Team, said he will introduce Smith to the crowd around 6:50 p.m. and he will be presented with something to commemorate the occasion. In addition, former Head Coach Eugene Maxwell, who coached Smith, is expected to be in attendance to say a few words.
As a senior at Summit High School, Smith averaged six blocks, 24 points and 12 rebounds each game, according to his West Virginia University sports profile. He was also named first team all-Union County, first team all-state and earned second team all-state honors by New Jersey Hoops in 2005, according to the profile.
As a junior at West Virginia, Smith ranked fifth in career block shots with 124 and started all 35 games as a junior, according to his profile on the West Virginia University web site. Click here to see more of Smith’s stats.
“One of the things about a guy like Wellington is he’s a great example to these young people because he’s a guy who worked very hard to reach a very high level of basketball that very few people are able to achieve,” White explained. “Yet he took school seriously and graduated with his degree. He has a great job working in [as Director of Basketball Marketing] for a company called GameChanger, which does online statistics reporting for baseball and basketball. He’s a guy that you point to for an example for kids. It’s hard for them to relate to me; I’m a 50-year-old guy. But when they look at a young guy, and he’s successful and does well and sets a great example, and he’s closer to their age, they can really relate and maybe strive to emulate him. That’s important for me to have a guy like that around my kids.”
Speaking of White’s players, the Summit Varsity Basketball team is on a hot streak so far this season with a record of 5-0.
Tonight is a conference game versus David Brearley and White is hoping the team will continue to taste the sweet success they had in December.
“We have a talented group of kids,” said White, who is also the owner and director of The Sports Academy in Millburn. “In fact, we have a player named Ba’Shawn Mickens, who is a senior guard, who is averaging over 27 points per game. I’d guess he’s one of the top 10 scorers in the state right now. He’s getting a lot of college attention. He’s one of our captains this year, a three-year starter. He’s closing in on 1,000 points for his career.”
White said the other striking thing about his team is that most of the players are very tall.
“In fact, I’m 6’3” and my wife jokes that I look small when I’m standing next to my players,” he said. “We have guys between 6’5” and 6’8”.”
Tip off is 7 p.m. in the main gym of Summit High School, located at 125 Kent Place Blvd.
Summit Boys' Basketball Team Roster