Raymond Hicks might only be 6-foot-7, but with his quickness, agility and explosion, he is a player the coach Frank Haith will be looking to dominate at times during games because simply has it.
Blessed with tremendous leaping ability and built like granite, Hicks struggled early on last season, but as the season wore on, he became more and more comfortable with his role on the team and earned more and more playing time.
That will be something that is expected to carry over into this season as he's expected to take on a bigger role, one that will be very important to the team's success this season with the group being so young.
"The guys are learning each other on the court and blending together," Hicks said of the young team.
His game has grown exponentially since the start of last season, but with a new role that he must grow accustomed to, everyday is a battle for Hicks.
"I am trying to get better around the basket, learning my role exactly because it switched a lot from last year," Hicks said. "Last year, I was an energy guy, this year, it's with scoring and energy and leadership since we lost Guillermo (Diaz) and Rob (Hite)."
But his energy is what he is known for, and it's that energy and passion that Hicks must bring to the floor every minute of every game because of his lack of height.
"I know I am undersized. I try to make up with strength and quickness and athleticism. I like to play above the rim," Hicks said. "I wanted to get stronger this summer and put some weight up top. It's been good."
The biggest difference though between last year and this year is the comfort that Hicks feels within the team's system.
"Last year, just playing and learning my role at the end of the season I felt more comfortable with the guys and I knew what I was supposed to do with the guys," Hicks said. "It's smoother now. I can focus on different things."
He's part of a group in the post though that is expected to be the strength of this year's team.
"I think we are a lot stronger this year. We know each other a lot better this year. We communicate a lot. It's a lot better. We got a good group of guys this year," Hicks said of his post mates.
But what is on Hicks' mind right now is getting on the floor and playing against someone in a different colored jersey with the lights on.
"I am ready to get it started. I am looking for big things. I am just looking forward to getting started. I am ready to play," Hicks said.
Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at email@example.com
Hicks: "I like to play above the rim"
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