North Lake student news since 1977




Blazers win championship

Dallas College board of trustees and North Lake campus basketball players and coaches pose for a photo after The Blazers won their second championship in three years.
Cesar Garcia
Dallas College board of trustees and North Lake campus basketball players and coaches pose for a photo after The Blazers won their second championship in three years

North Lake Blazers have won the National Championship for the second time in three years.

This accomplishment was possible due to the basketball’s head coach Josh Mills, a Dallas College Alumni.

“I’m glad Coach Mills gave me a chance because everyone doubted me out but Coach Mills was kind enough to give me a chance,” Autavius Hobbs said.

As a Dallas College student, Mills spent a great amount of time around basketball as they won the 2006 National Championship and won Conference in 2007. “It was a great experience,” Mills said.

The love of basketball has been ingrained in Mills since a young age. From playing for Northlake’s basketball team, obtaining a bachelor’s in kinesiology, coaching at multiple colleges, and coaching summer ball.

Mills left the coaching role for a few years but could not stay away. His wife encouraged him to do what he loves and that was coaching basketball.

The Northlake Blazers succeeded in the National Championship and won their fifth National Junior College Athletic Association Division III National Championship.

“Coach McGraw taught me how to win,” Mills said. Game leader Bryson Smith contributed immensely to the win by scoring 24 points, obtaining 9 rebounds, and making 6 assists against a team that had a record of 29 wins and 2 loses.

“I created bonds and friendships that have lasted from then until now,” Mills said. Those friendships are significant to Mills and a few of those friends have shared their experiences and advice with the current basketball players.

During his time at Dallas College, Mills worked at Home Depot earning $10 an hour to pay his way through school. He went on to receive a certification to be a personal trainer and his pay increased to $25 an hour.

Along with working, he was a full time student taking anatomy and biology courses which later aided in his current career as a basketball coach. “I use the information from my courses when I’m building workouts and implementing stretching,” Mills said.

These courses have also been beneficial to the players over the years. “Making sure the guys are staying in good shape and healthy, having that knowledge of how their bodies work, and when to rest and when to push them,” he said.

Coach McGraw, the former Northlake basketball coach, played an important role in Mills’ journey.

“Coach McGraw allowed me to step in and to be a student assistant instead of a manager,” Mills said. As a student assistant, Mills had the responsibility of helping direct practices, give input on plays, and shadow the head coach. He was able to give Coach McGraw a different perspective when it pertained to understanding the mind of young players.

Mills obtained a physical education certificate and began teaching at a Grand Prairie middle school for two years while working as a part time assistant coach at NLC from 2018-22. He then took over as head coach once McGraw left.

Since 2022, Smith has been able to do what he loves.“I get to mentor, assist, and teach,” Mills said.

Within the past 3 years, the Northlake Blazers won the National Championship twice. “Our goal is for guys to come here, work, get recognition, and move on to four year schools with a scholarship,” Mills said.

Alongside him are Coach Allen Smith and Coach Lesha Jackson. “They’re great people and great friends,” Mills said. “They love basketball and that’s what brings us together although we can talk about more than just basketball.”

Mills said Jackson brings a woman’s perspective into the world of men’s basketball. She contributes knowledge that helps the coaches and team to understand basketball in a different lens by challenging the traditional ways of doing things.

Jackson is a great help off the court as she manages the team’s social media pages and holds the players accountable in the classroom. “She does a tremendous job with the graphics and videos, keeping us relevant in the world of social media which is relevant to younger people,” Mills said.

On the other hand,Smith was a walk-on at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff receiving a full scholarship which is rare for a walk-on basketball player. During his time there, he received SWAC tournament MVP and led his team to win a NCAA tournament game and he now uses his knowledge and experiences to help the Blazers.

Smith said he has to thank Jackson and Smith for the contribution to the success of their basketball program.

Coach Mills plans to bring exposure to the players that are preparing to attend a university after the spring semester. While sending out film to coaches and making calls to put in a word for the sophomore players, he is also recruiting some talented players to fill those shoes.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All News-Register Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *