Smith Academy athlete reaches career milestone - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Smith Academy athlete reaches career milestone

Keith Natale Keith Natale

Smith Academy's Keith Natale, has played the game of basketball for the majority of his life.

"I've been playing for as long as I can remember, probably since the first grade," said Natale. 

He said the versatility of the game is what draws him in.

"There are different things you can do, defense or offense. You can be a passer or a shooter. It's just the variety you can be that's what makes me love it," said Natale. 

Natale wears the number 23 on his purple and white jersey.

He is a forward for the Falcons.

During Thursday night's game versus Greenfield, he was shooting to reach the 1,000 point mark.

"I've been ready to go since I woke up this morning," said Natale.

Classmates dressed in school spirit, packed the stands holding cut outs of face.

His mom eagerly sat holding a sign for Natale, showing pride for her son.

And just a couple baskets into the game, Natale hit his goal marking his 1,000 points.

The crowd went into an uproar, applauding and shouting to number 23.

"It feels great man we're playing really well everything's going great," said Natale minutes after making the shot.

This isn't the only athletic achievement for Natale at Smith Academy.

He was the only varsity athlete to make it to the Western Finals on three separate teams.

But according to his coach, Matt Zerneri, Natale doesn't allow all that glory to go to his head.

"Keith's a good kid. He's actually kind of quiet. He's a leader by example," said Zerneri.  

Athletic Director David Keir agreed.

"Keith's a great kid. He's pretty quiet. He leads more by his actions than he does his words," said Keir.

After Thursday's big point, the senior will join his coach on a long list of names of other Falcons who have also reached this breakthrough in their career."

"It's a milestone and he's worked hard to get it," said Zerneri.  

But Natale said he can't take all the credit for his success on the court.

"I love my teammates, there always working hard at practices and games," said Natale.

Natale said he looks forward to graduating and continuing his basketball success in college.

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