When Stephen Wingler was coaching and teaching at Seymour High School during the 2015-16 school year, he got to know Alex Hofer.
During the spring and summer, Wingler coaches the Southern Indiana Shock, an AAU basketball team based out of Brownstown.
He had a player leave his team and asked Hofer if he was interested in playing.
Hofer said he was interested and joined the team.
“I really enjoyed playing AAU,” Hofer said.
He said he had some success and knew then he had the talent and ability to play college basketball, and began looking at some colleges.
One of the colleges he visited was Midway University, located in Midway, Kentucky, which is near Lexington.
Hofer’s goal became a reality Wednesday when he signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Midway, where he plans to major in education and become a school teacher.
“I chose Midway because it’s a program that just started last year,” Hofer said. “I like their coaching staff. Their assistant is 6-foot-10 so he’ll help me with my post game, and my game overall.”
Hofer is 6-7 and his playing weight this season was 240.
This past winter was the first for Midway to field a men’s basketball team and the Eagles finished with a 2-25 record.
Hofer said he is anxious to help the Eagles improve.
“I’m going to have a chance to play as a freshman,” Hofer said. “I need to work on my vertical, my jump shot, and my perimeter defense. I need to get better at that, and pretty much just being quicker.
“I just like the location because it’s by some good-sized towns and stuff. It’s not like I’ll be out in the middle of nowhere. I just want to help them in general get some more wins.”
Midway coach Joe Krupinski made the trip for Hofer’s signing.
“I had seen (Hofer) play a little bit prior to the year and I was at the game up at Edinburgh,” Krupinski said. “I think Alex has a lot of potential, and I think his best basketball is ahead of him with that size. Big guys tend to develop later, a lot of guys (improve) as they grow into their bodies.
“We’re starting our program and we’re excited to have a player from such a really good area for basketball to come down and hopefully help us build the program.”
Krupinski said Midway needs post players.
“We were very undersized this year,” Krupinski said. “That was one of our main issues, which I think happens as a first-year team. We didn’t have a lot of post players so our front court is an area we were hoping to address this year, bringing in a couple guys to help us.
“We lost a lot of close games because we couldn’t come up with rebounds or guard the interior. Alex is going to have the opportunity if he works at it and keeps developing. The opportunity is there for somebody to go in and make some contributions early on.”
Seymour coach Tyler Phillips said he feels Hofer can definitely be a help to the Midway program.
“I’ve been on a varsity bench (coaching) for 11 years in some capacity, and from day one to day end he’s improved more than any kid I’ve ever (worked with),” Phillips said. “Alex was in my weight class and he never took a day off in there.
“He was constantly working just to be a better athlete, not necessarily a better basketball player. Even during football he was working on whatever he needed to work on and whatever his coach asked him to work on.”
Many times during the winter, Hofer could be found putting in the extra work.
“(Hofer) was always the first one to come out in practice and get extra shots up, and he was the last one to leave,” Phillips said. “He gave everything he had. There are some kids that you can look back and know they took a play off, or they took a day off.
He never did. Even early in the year when he wasn’t getting as many minutes as what he did toward the end of the year he’d come into practice the next day and he was still the hardest worker. You can’t teach that. Those kinds of things are what lead to days like today.
Hofer moved into the starting lineup midway through his senior season and had a high-point game of 12 against Greensburg.
“Alex is a locker room guy,” Phillips said. “He’s going to improve their culture the minute he steps on campus. He’s going to keep his teammates together. He’s a glue guy. His work ethic is contagious. He will show kids how to work hard. Alex is kind of old school from the standpoint that he’s not all about instant gratification. He didn’t get to play a lot up until this year until we got a hold of him.”
Midway is in the River States Conference, along with Indiana University Southeast, Indiana University East and Indiana University Kokomo, along with nine other schools from Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
“We’re starting from scratch,” Krupinski said. “It’s exciting, but it requires some patience. You always want to be further along than you are. We were pretty young this year. If those guys develop I think we’ll have a chance to make a jump this year.”