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Former Men’s Basketball Players Mark Success Off the Court at Annual Alumni Game


From left, Miles Smith ('07), men's coach and assistant athletic director at Johnson State College (VT); MCCC Head Coach Howard Levy; Jordan Ingram, assistant coach at University of the Sciences (Phila.); and Stan Tuchez ('12), current assistant coach at MCCC.

West Windsor, N.J. – Alumni from the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) men’s basketball team gathered at the college on June 24 to play some ball and reminisce about their days as Vikings. 

This year marked the eighth annual Alumni Game Day. According to Head Coach Howard Levy, the event has been a meaningful way to bring his former players together. 

"One of the best parts of the day is when I get a chance to describe the successes these alumni are experiencing. Most did not continue their collegiate playing careers, but graduated from four-year schools and found good jobs. One has gone on to law school," Levy said.

Two players for the Vikings' 2009-10 team that reached the NJCAA Division II National Tournament are Gary Carthan and Aaron Smitherman. Carthan just finished his collegiate playing career at Rowan University and will be graduating next year with a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. Smitherman currently works for the municipal government in Burlington City and is finishing his bachelor's degree at Rowan University.

Other notable alumni include Donovan McCleese, Stan Tuchez and Brandin Youngblood, all of whom were all members of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 teams. Tuchez currently serves as the assistant coach for the Mercer men’s team. Tuchez joined the MCCC coaching staff after graduating from Rutgers in 2014 with degrees in Exercise Science and Sports Studies with a concentration in Sports Management. Youngblood is currently enrolled at the Widener University Delaware Law School, working on his Juris Doctorate. Youngblood earned his undergraduate degree from Wesley College, where he played two seasons on the basketball team (2012-13 and 2013-14). McCleese is currently working in security for Securitas and McKesson.

Another former player, Kevin Allison, who played for the Vikings in 2012-13 and 2013-14, graduated from Bloomsburg College this spring. Allison joins a fraternity of players who get to mark that milestone by enjoying a steak dinner with Coach Levy, a tradition the proud coach began years ago.

Yet another player, Eric Preston, who played for the Vikings in 2007-08 and 2008-09, is on track to complete his bachelor's degree. A former assistant coach for Coach Levy (2011-12), Preston currently works as a supervisor for Educational Testing Service and will be completing his bachelor's degree from Farleigh Dickinson University this year.

Then there are more recent MCCC grads Dean Blank and Salam Simon, members of the 2014-15 and 2015-16 teams, who are both doing well at their four-year schools.  Blank, MCCC's 2016 Male Scholar Athlete Award winner, transferred to Drexel University, where he is participating in a co-op program that allows him to pursue an internship and work for six months during the year. Blank is dual majoring in Finance and Business Analytics. Simon finished his associate degree in Culinology at Mercer this fall and transferred to the University of Delaware, where he is majoring in Food Science.

The most recent alumnus to attend the event was John Armstead, who finished his MCCC playing career this season and earned his associate degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. Armstead will transfer to either Georgia Court University or Farleigh Dickinson to continue for his bachelor's degree.

Former assistant coaches Jordan Ingram and Miles Smith also attended the Alumni Game. Ingram was an assistant coach at Mercer for three seasons from 2012 to 2015. Currently he is the assistant coach for men’s basketball at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.  Smith, who was a member of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 teams, served as an assistant coach at Mercer from 2008 to 2012. Currently Smith is the head coach for men’s basketball and assistant athletic director at Johnson State College in Vermont, where he continued his playing career and education after graduating from Mercer. 

Coach Levy says he puts a mark in the win column every time one of his players earns his college degree. "The journey may take just two years after players leave MCCC, or a few years longer for some others, but the best measure of success is the completion of a four-year degree. That's what I want most for my players and that's why we host this event -- to celebrate their achievements. These alumni are succeeding in the ways that matter most," Levy said.

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