Old Field resident scores big during college basketball career
By Thomas Cullen
Old Field’s Alex Sobel has made quite a name for himself on the basketball court.
Playing for the Division III Middlebury College Panthers of Vermont in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, Sobel became the first player in conference history to be selected as both NESCAC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
Sobel also was named D3hoops.com’s Men’s All-America Teams, Player of the Year for 2022-23.
The 6-foot-8-inch, 230-pound forward credits his success to all of the people he has played for throughout his career.
“The coaches on Long Island put a lot of time and effort into teaching the fundamentals of basketball,” Sobel said. “Chris Agostino my CYO/AAU coach, Alex Piccirillo, my high school coach at Ward Melville and Krissy Foley, my summer league coach on Long Island, were all involved in making me the player I am.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sobel took a year and a half off of school between 2020 and 2021. That didn’t seem to slow him down at all. When he returned to the court as a junior, he was rewarded with a starting role. This led to more minutes which resulted in a higher scoring average. His list of accomplishments are as impressive as they are long. He dominated both ends of the floor with a fantastic scoring touch and superb defensive ability.
This season, Sobel eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in a January victory over Bowdoin, 80-60. He ended his Panthers career with 1,227 points, placing him 11th in the school’s record book. He averaged 19.4 points per game and netted 20 or more points in 11 games this season. In addition, the forward rang up double-figure point totals in all 26 games this year and 36 straight going back to last season.
For his career, Sobel had 39 double-doubles, placing him ninth among active Division III players. He posted 17 of those this season, placing him 12th nationally. On the defensive side of the ledger, he blocked 101 shots, which was good for second place in Division III this season. His nod for the All-NESCAC First-Team honorees was the second year in a row he was selected.
“Alex Sobel was a special player for us to coach,” said Panthers head coach Jeff Brown. “His skill set allowed us to use him in so many different ways. His ability to affect the game on both offense and defense energized our team throughout the season. He provided so much excitement with his play in games and practices.”
“His skill set allowed us to use him in so many different ways. His ability to affect the game on both offense and defense energized our team throughout the season.”
When Sobel was asked about the proudest moment of his career so far, he said it was the game against Keene State on Jan. 16.
“They were ranked number four in the country, and we beat them [86-82],” he said. In that game Sobel tallied a double-double with a career-best 31 points and 16 rebounds. He also dished out six assists and he blocked five shots.
Unfortunately, his Middlebury career ended on a down note when the Panthers were ousted from the NCAA Division III Tournament by Nichols College, 73-66, in a second-round game in early March. Even in that loss, Sobel led both teams in scoring (29 points) and rebounds (15).
With a computer science and American studies double major, Sobel is unsure of what he wants to do for a career when he finishes school. However, he does have his basketball future mapped out. Currently he is working through his last year of basketball eligibility due to the year and a half he lost because of COVID. He would like his next stop to be with a Division I school, with either Stony Brook, Sacred Heart or Fairfield as potential landing sites.
“Next season I would like to be with a winning team and compete for a championship,” Sobel said. “After that I would consider playing professionally overseas in either Israel or France.”