It won't be in a submarine, and it won't be inside a fighter jet, but long after Episcopal Academy senior Nick Alikakos ends his high school basketball career, you might still find him flying high or sailing low.

Next week, the 6-foot-7 forward will sign his national letter of intent to play basketball at the U.S. Naval Academy.

His height will keep him from some certain modes of transport, but it seems little can keep him from service.

"Before I committed to Navy, I thought about some other schools, but it's bigger than just basketball," he said. "I thought Navy was the best place for me."

Later, he added: "I think what motivated me the most was just being a part of something bigger than just myself."

Penn, Hartford, St. Francis, Lafayette, and Army were also in the running.

This season, Alikakos will likely be a key cog if the Churchmen expect championship success in Inter-Ac play. Episcopal finished second to Germantown Academy last season.

Alikakos led the league in scoring as a junior (21.2 points per game) and fell one point shy of tying for the league scoring lead as a sophomore, a year in which league coaches named him MVP.

His ability to shoot from the perimeter, drive to the basket, and finish above the rim is exceeded only by what his coach has described as an inexhaustible spirit.

"His work ethic is certainly a model that we're going to hold up for many, many years to come," said Episcopal coach Craig Conlin.

Conlin, whose father, Joseph, served in the Army, raved about the example Alikakos' hard work has set for his teammates. Conlin's father-in-law, Hugh McGinniss, also served in the U.S. Marine Corps and later became a Master Chief in the U.S. Coast Guard, he said.

"I'm so proud to say I'm coaching a kid who's moving on to the Naval Academy," Conlin said.

Alikakos said his grandfather, Luis Alikakos, was a doctor in the Army. His decision, however, wasn't necessarily motivated by a familial following.

"Not only do you get to serve your country, but you learn how to become a leader and pick up life-skills that will last your whole life," he said.

For now, he is contemplating a path toward becoming a Surface Warfare Officer on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier or possibly a position in global security using computer technology.

Whatever he chooses, his time as a Midshipman and the five-year commitment he must fulfill after graduation won't include certain things.

"They said I would be too tall for submarines and fighter jets, but I could fly helicopters and other things, and that would definitely be cool," Alikakos said.

It appears his love for basketball and his ability to play it well will be an added bonus.

"Not only could I be successful doing it," he said, "but I'll be serving my country, and it's definitely an honor to serve my country."

@AceCarterINQ