The term "unicorn" is thrown around now in basketball circles, describing a player likely over 6-foot-10 that can not only work down in the post but can shoot and handle the ball, as well.
Hobart graduate Aleks Novakovich has always been able to shoot the rock, but it wasn't until his senior year where he started working inside the arc. At 6-8, 180 pounds, he admitted he got thrown around down low so as soon as he arrived at Crown Point's Don Bosco Prep in May, he started to train.
The former Brickie now stands 6-10 and has put on 25 pounds. Being able to do the things he can do at his size, he piqued the interest of the Evansville and drew an offer on Oct. 5, a couple weeks after taking his official visit. Today, he'll sign his National Letter of Intent with the Purple Aces of the Missouri Valley Conference.
"Evansville liked me from the start. They talked to me a couple times a week and they came in and saw me at practices a couple times," Novakovich said. "They liked my versatility and my skill set and how I could do a lot of things like shoot, block shots, post up and rebound. They see me as a stretch 4 and could see me anywhere on the floor within their offense. When I was able to watch them practice on my visit, I saw how quick they moved the ball and I saw where I could fit with them."
Novakovich held interest from other schools but was only offered by William and Mary, for the 2017 season. Once the Tribe backed off after Novakovich headed to prep school, Evansville stepped in.
"The most important thing to me was the academics," Novakovich said, who is thinking of joining the data science/statistics program at Evansville. "I talked to the advisers and it's just a really good school. Basketball wise, I fit in perfectly within their system and I really loved the coaches and players when I was on my visit. That was important, too."
The former Brickie averaged 11.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in his senior year. A couple weeks into his prep school season, the emphasis remains on getting bigger.
"Strength is the biggest thing for me to focus on right now," he said. "I'm going to just keep getting stronger, faster and keep working on my game in all areas."