"I met him in the 6th grade when I was working a camp down at Southern Mississippi," said Page. "He was about 6-0 tall then and he was already dunking. I thought he was already a pretty good athlete. I already knew some kids from Quitman, so I kept up with him."
And during that period, Hicks continued to grow and improve his game.
"The summer of my 6th grade I started growing more and started developing my skills," said Hicks. "Then, when I started developing my skills I realized that I was good. Everybody started telling me I could get (even) better if I got help from coaches like (Steve Page)."
About that time Page and Marc Rowe created the MarcRowe AAU basketball program. And one of the first players Page called was Hicks.
"When we started this (AAU) program I gave him a call to see if he was interested in playing for us," said Page.
Obviously, Hicks said yes. And since he has joined their AAU program, Page has been impressed with Darius' maturity level as well as his intelligence for the game.
"What I like about him is he takes constructive criticism very, very well," said Page. "He also picks things up very quickly. His IQ for the game grows after each practice. We can put him through a drill this week and next week he has pretty much learned it."
Already 6-6 tall and 180 pounds, Page sees Hicks as a small forward.
"I see him being more of a three because he has a good feel for the perimeter area, and he also knows how to use his body around the goal," said Page.
Hicks agrees with that assessment.
"I think I am pretty good at shooting, passing and dribbling," said the youngster. "I feel like I can be a triple-threat player."
As for playing AAU basketball, Hicks has enjoyed the experience because it has not only improved his game but his confidence on the court as well.
"This is my second year to play AAU," said Hicks. "At first it was a little intimidating but the more I played the more I knew I could play with the older guys. It is a good experience to start young because you can get used to it and it's like playing a regular basketball game."
Scout.com will continue to follow the progress of Darius Hicks as he begins his high school basketball career next season and as he continues with his AAU career.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.