Hobart High School junior boys basketball center Aleks Novakovich, son of Zeljko and Snezana Novakovich, was recently featured in a The Times newspaper sports section basketball profile story. Novoakovich has also played on teams in basketball tournaments, such as the 76th Annual SNF Basketball Tournament in 2015, representing St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church of Merrillville, Indiana.

Read the beginning of the story below or click here to read the entire article at The Times website.

From the Times Newspaper:

STEVE HANLON: This Brickie says ‘Srećna Nova godina’

While most of America woke up late Friday and said “Happy New Year,” there are others who said something else. Hobart junior boys basketball center Aleks Novakovich said that, along with “Srećna Nova godina,” which is the same greeting in his native Serbian tongue.

The Region has a long history of great Serbian high school basketball players hanging nets all over the 2-1-9. Novakovich is not at the top of the list right now. But don’t blink, because the 6-foot-8 center is moving up the name tree.

“Most Serbs are tall and good shooters,” Novakovich said Wednesday night after his Brickies lost to Griffith at the Highland Holiday Hoopfest. “There have been a lot of great Serbs who’ve played in the NBA, and I know who they are all.”

Vlade Divac, Predrag Stojaković and Vladimir Radmanović are some of the best of the best from the Eastern European hoops hotbed.

“Basketball is very big in our culture,” said Novakovich, who was born in the United States.

His parents — Zeljko and Snezana Novakovich — lived in Croatia. But the war-torn nation of the 1990s had them looking for freedom and peace.

So in 1996 the family moved here, like thousands before them. Region basketball’s history book would be missing a large chapter if not for this Nike migration.

“Aleks likes it here, we stay here,” said Zeljko, his father. “Aleks is a member of the Serbian National Federation, or what some call the ‘Serbian Olympics.’ He’s met a lot of former players and learned from them. It’s a language, a culture. It’s really good to meet other kids from around the country.”

Zeljko said Aleks has grown almost a foot in a year and a half. Hobart coach Mike Black has seen an even bigger growth on the court. All of Novakovich’s numbers are up. He’s averaging 9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2 assists a game.