Rico Stands Out

As a first time invitee to the prestigious Reebok ABCD camp in Teaneck, N.J., Rico Pickett was curious about how well he would compare to approximately150 of the best high school basketball players in the nation. After the first six games, Rico was tied for leading the camp in assists and consistently showed his abilities to penetrate the lane and provide opportunities for his teammates.

Rico Pickett learned he belonged to be with this group but also recognized where he needs to develop for the future.

Rico will be headed to the Alabama North-South all star basketball game to be played this Thursday in Huntsville. On the following Friday, he will be headed to Miami to participate in an AAU event and then to the Big Time tournament in Las Vegas.

Rico, who plays for Decatur and who has committed to sign with Alabama, sat down with us to discuss his game and his future.

A.P. Steadham: What are your first memories of playing basketball?

Rico Pickett: I was six years old and I played in the boys and girls club league. My Dad introduced me to the game. I look up to him because he taught me the game in every way. He is my mentor and the person I look to for guidance on and off the court.

APS: Where did you learn to use your left hand so well?

RP: My Dad started me out when I was six years old. I'm originally left handed but he made me use my right hand all the time so I could get better with both hands and throw the defense off.

APS: I have read where you like Dwayne Wade? Is he the person you pattern your game after?

RP: Kind of, I like the way he gets to the goal but I really like LeBron James better.

APS: Since this is your first time at the Reebok ABCD Camp, what are your impressions?

RP: It is better than what I thought it would be. It is more competition than I have ever played against. Its fun.

APS: Last night I watched you play against O.J. Mayo (top rated point guard according to scout.com). Had you ever played against him before?

RP: Never. I played against his team but he didn't play, so it was my first time.

APS: How do you think you played against him?

RP: At first I didn't take it to him the way I should have. But as the game continued I went at him and let him know I was here.

APS: What are your strengths?

RP: First, passing and seeing the floor. Secondly, I can get to the goal pretty much anytime I want to.

APS: What are the areas you feel you need to develop?

RP: Defense and my pull up shot.

APS: What part of your game have you developed the most this past year?

RP: Taking contact and finishing the shot.

APS: Do you have any family members who have competed athletically in college?

RP: No, actually I will be the first one to play in college.

APS: What are some of your outside interests?

RP: I really like chillin with my girlfriend on the weekends. Playing video games and chillin at home with my family.

APS: What is your GPA and have you taken the ACT test?

RP: My GPA is around 2.7 and I made a 22 on my ACT.

APS: What is the field of study you would like to pursue?

RP: Sports management. I want to purse sports management in case I do not make it, I can be someone's agent.

APS: What is your strength training regiment?

RP: We lift weights at school in the morning every weekday. I go to the gym by myself to work on my conditioning and my game.

APS: When you're playing basketball, what makes you smile when you are on the court?

RP: Its just fun. Its fun being out there playing against good people. Its fun to me and I'm glad to be here.

APS: What are your expectations when you attend The University of Alabama?

RP: One of my expectations is to help Alabama get to the final four and hopefully win the national championship. That is my main goal.

APS: What would you like the people of Alabama to know about you?

RP: That I am a good person and even a better ball player (laughingly).

APS: Describe your game to someone who has never seen you play.

RP: I'm a passer and point guard. Pass first and score after I get my teammates involved. I like to get my teammates involved before I try to score.

APS: What would you like a coach to know about you?

RP: I will be a good point guard and lead his team.

APS: Do you have any favorite players from The University of Alabama that you have watched thru the years?

RP: Robert Horry, Latrell Sprewell and Gerald Wallace.

APS: Why did you select The University of Alabama?

RP: I love the atmosphere there and the coaching staff. They produce good guards and it's close to home. My family can watch me play and it's the best situation for me.

Norman Williams, AAU Coach, Southeast Elite

APS: How long have you been coaching Rico Pickett?

CNW: I've only been his AAU coach for one year.

APS: Describe the improvements you have seen by him the past year?

CNW: Rico has always been a great scorer. What we are trying to do right now is focus a lot more on him distributing the basketball and increasing his defensive intensity.

APS: What would you like to see from Rico in the future?

CNW: I think Rico is already a great playmaker. I want him to be able to score his points and also to be able to guard the other team's best scorer.

APS: What should a coach know about Rico?

CNW: They are getting a great kid, good student and a great basketball player. Overall, Rico is a joy to have on and off the basketball court.

APS: What is your scouting report on Rico Pickett?

CNW: Rico is a creative guy. What you might want to do is keep him from getting in the lane. You really can't stop Rico. You just try to minimize his effectiveness. The only one who can stop Rico is Rico.

Tom Konchalski, Publisher of High School Basketball Illustrated, talent evaluator often quoted in USA Today, as well as newspapers and magazines across the country. Often a guest on the Madison Square Garden television network sports show, "High School Weekly"

APS: Would you comment on the talents of Rico Pickett as well as his value to a team?

TC: He is a big lead guard, who is very athletic. He can get into the lane and get shots for people with his penetration.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A.P. Steadham covers events in the Northeast for 'BAMA Magazine and BamaMag.com

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