TOC: Hickson Remains Wide Open

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- J.J. Hickson's stellar effort wasn't enough to propel the World Wide Renegades deep into the playoffs of the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. In Saturday night's 66-59 loss to the North Carolina Gaters, Hickson was a man amongst boys.

J.J. Hickson's stellar effort wasn't enough to propel the World Wide Renegades deep into the playoffs of the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions.

In Saturday night's 66-59 loss to the North Carolina Gaters, Hickson was a man amongst boys. He tallied a game-high 19 points and double-digit rebounds, but down the stretch his team failed to get him the ball in the paint and it allowed the pesky Gaters to comeback and win the final pool play game.

Hickson displayed his athleticism with an array of post moves and put backs, and also showcased nice shooting touch and explosive jumping ability. Late in the first half, he received a bounce pass from Chris Allen on a two-and-one break and smashed it down on a Gater defender, drawing several oohs and aahs from the media.

Although they lost to the Gaters, World Wide won their pool an advanced into the playoffs, where a talented D.C. Assault team awaited them. Assault, annually one of the most talented teams on the AAU circuit, was playing without starting guards Nolan Smith and Austin Freeman, but still featured high-major prospects Julian Vaughn, Cameron Sutton, and Michael Beasley.

Playing major minutes in his third game of the day and right after a tough battle against the Gaters, Hickson seemed to lack the energy and intensity he plays with and only managed five points as the Renegades lost 72-57.

The 6-foot-9 Marietta (GA) Wheeler forward continues to remain quiet about his recruiting list, although he acknowledges programs such as North Carolina, NC State, Kentucky and others in the ACC and Big East are in the mix.

He described his recruitment as wide open and declined to provide a list, but said he will be releasing one in the near future.

Top 25 prospect J.J. Hickson

"My recruitment is still wide open," Hickson told a host of reporters. "I should be releasing a list of schools in a couple weeks."

Due to the coaching change at NC State, Hickson claims he has yet to be contacted by the new Wolfpack coaching staff, but hopes to talk with them soon.

"I had talked a great deal with coach Sendek," he said. "But, I haven't heard from the new coaching staff yet.

"I know it's a great school, and I'm looking forward to hearing from them."

NC State definitely has what Hickson states he is looking for: playing time. With Andrew Brackman and Cedric Simmons almost certain to be finished playing basketball at NC State in 2007, the Wolfpack will be able to offer instant playing time to Hickson and any frontcourt prospect interested in NC State.

"I can't really say what schools I'm leaning towards," Hickson said. "But the most important thing to me right now is playing time."

Rated the No. 20 player in the country and No. 9 power forward by Scout.com, Hickson is one of the nation's top rising seniors. He averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds as a junior.

James Hickson Video


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