SUMMIT, NJ - Before the undefeated Summit Hilltoppers boys basketball team hit the court against David Brearley on Friday, the high school honored hoops legend Wellington Smith.
Smith, a 2005 graduate of Summit High School, led the Hilltoppers to the state sectional championships in 2004 and 2005. He then did a post graduate year at Blair Academy where he helped lead them to a prep school championship, then attended college at the University of West Virginia. During his four years there, the team won an NIT Championship and went to the NCAA tournament three times and the Final Four in his senior season.
At a young age, Smith said he fell in love with basketball and it became his passion. He said it was great how Summit chose to recognize him and seeing the fans, players and coaches, brought back so many good memories.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment and I’m glad that they were able to do this for me,” Smith said.
Whenever he works out with kids today, he tells them to follow their dreams and work hard because anything is possible. While everyone has a talent, it starts with drive and ambition that really get people to where they are, Smith said. He said he never envisioned playing in the NCAA Final Four, but he will treasure that experience for the rest of his life.
Smith said he is extremely grateful to his parents and coaches for pushing him throughout high school to give his best. He said two of his toughest opponents at the collegiate level were current NBA players John Wall and Demarcus Cousins. Looking ahead to the future, he said he might think about coaching someday.