Hickson Heading Up The Charts

One of the hottest basketball prospects in the country is James "J.J." Hickson of Marietta (Ga." Wheeler. Hickson now is considered to be one of America's best players, and many college programs are hot on his trail, including Ohio State.

There's a renegade on the loose. He might not be armed, but James "J.J." Hickson should be considered very dangerous.

This 6-8, 220-pound renegade has become worldwide. The power forward from Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler is strong, athletic and very skilled.

Playing for the Worldwide Renegades, Hickson has had a fantastic spring thus far, elevating his status to one of the top players in the country. In fact, Scouthoops.com has him currently ranked at No. 9 for his position, with that ranking surely to skyrocket.

"He's getting attention from everybody," said his AAU coach Chris Johnson. "He's probably one of the best players in the country."

Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgetown, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State and Wake Forest are just some of many schools interested in Hickson or have offered a scholarship.

Narrowing down that list isn't something Hickson is ready to do.

"We're going to come out with a list of schools after May 1," Hickson said this past weekend at the Shooting Stars Classic in Akron.

But that process may still yet be further along.

Johnson said it might be a couple of months before Hickson is ready to publish any sort of list of schools that he's considering. So that leaves plenty of time for recruiters to continue getting involved.

"He will probably come out with a list of 5-10 schools before July camps," Johnson added, "and then he will take it from there."

"He (Hickson) knows it's a big decision, so he doesn't want to rush it," Johnson added.

Hickson is not just a Johnny-come-lately on the list of high school players that coaches covet. He's been a wanted man since last summer.

At the ABCD Camp in Teaneck, N.J., Hickson averaged nearly 10 points and five rebounds during the camp playing in July before his junior season.

His tremendous skill in the post and a pure jumper out to 16-feet have carried over into the spring. It's why coaches love what they see from him.

"J.J. is probably one of the best big men in the country – he's got a real nice shot to 15 or 16 feet and he can finish down low," Johnson explained. "He's really the complete package because he can make free throws, he's strong and he's athletic."

After a disappointing loss to Derrick Rose and the Meanstreets Express last Friday night, Hickson had done his part scoring over 10 points and grabbing more than 10 rebounds.

But he wasn't satisfied.

"I've got to stop settling for so many jump shots on the perimeter," Hickson said, "and do what I know how to do around the rim."

Hickson also talked about starting slow.

In the first half, Hickson struggled for the first 10 minutes before turning it up in the second half.

That, according to Johnson, is one of the few weaknesses.

"He's got to work on his intensity," Johnson said of Hickson. "He has a tendency to sometimes take a half off or just not play as well as he's capable of. He's just got to turn it on for an entire game."

Hickson clearly won't be taking any time off this summer from basketball or the recruiting process. Schools are already beating down his door to get involved.

After his list is finalized, Johnson believes it will be time to take visits.

"He's probably going to take all five of his visits and everything," Johnson noted. "He will take his time about it."

Hickson, who only added that he's hearing a lot from the ACC, SEC and Big Ten schools in particular, seems to have an idea what he wants.

"It comes down to playing time right away," he said. "Well, not even right away but just playing time in general. Also how I fit in the program will be important, style of play and my relationship with the coaches."

Johnson echoed those sentiments unsolicited about what Hickson was going to be looking for in a school.

"Distance is really not going to be an issue here," Johnson added. "Playing time will be really important and how J.J. fits in with a team."

It looks like coaches will be chasing this renegade down for several months.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories