Audio: Hickson Selects NC State

MARIETTA, GA -- Pack Pride was on hand for J.J. Hickson's press conference, as the five-star prospect announced that he will play basketball next season at NC State.

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  • Audio: Hickson Selects NC State

    J.J. Hickson Press Conference (10:43)

    J.J. Hickson
    Opening Statement:

    "Let me first thank everyone for coming out. We're here for one reason. I'm here to inform everyone of my college choice. First let me take the opportunity to thank a few people who have been instrumental in my life. I just want to thank God because without him none of this would be possible. Secondly I want to thank my grandmother. Next I'd like to thank coach Doug Lipscomb and my Wheeler family for pushing me to excel on-and-off the court. Hopefully I can pay ya'll back with a championship. Last but not least let me thank my World Wide family, my AAU team, for letting me display my talent around the country.
    "The main thing that stood out to me with him is that he's more like a father figure to me than a coach."

    "Before I get to my decision, I would like to thank the coaches who I had good relationships with throughout the process. University of Tennessee's Bruce Pearl, University of Florida's Billy Donovan, University of Kentucky's Tubby Smith, and NC State, coach Sidney Lowe.

    "It was tough between Tennessee and NC State. It was neck-and-neck until the end, but I could only choose one. With that being said, I will be attending NC State University.

    "Me and Coach Lowe had a great relationship throughout the whole recruiting process. He made me and my grandmother feel comfortable on the visit in Raleigh, North Carolina. It's just like a big family. The main thing that stood out to me with him is that he's more like a father figure to me than a coach. Throughout our relationship I just expressed to him that I wanted to play on the next level, and I just felt like he was the best man to get me there. That was big."

    Talk more about the relationship you developed with coach Lowe and his roots to the NBA.
    "As we all know, he coached in the league, so I'm pretty sure he's used to running league sets. That would be best for me because it keeps the floor spread and allows me to operate."

    How excited are you to play in the ACC next year?
    "The ACC is one of the best conferences in the country. I'm just trying to display my talents, show everybody what I can do, and hopefully win some games and get NC State back to where it used to be."

    "I'm just trying to display my talents, show everybody what I can do, and hopefully win some games and get NC State back to where it used to be."

    Shareef Abdur-Rahim is a Wheeler graduate, and he played for Sidney in the NBA. Did he talk to you and give you his feelings on coach Lowe?
    "He talked to me a little bit, but the main thing he told me was to go where my heart is. He didn't want to put anything in my head. He wanted me to do what I wanted to do."

    Was the visit to NC State the deciding factor?
    "Yes, it pretty much was. The week before I went to Tennessee. The main thing that stood out at NC State was that it was more family-oriented. That was one of the main things that stood out. Like I said before, that made me and my grandmother feel comfortable."

    How much of an impact do you see yourself making right away?
    "That's another thing that stood out to me. To come in and hopefully get a lot of minutes right away. Help make my teammates better... try to be a leader on and off the court. I expect to come in and make a big impact."

    Did coach Lowe express that there would be a lot of playing time as a freshman?
    "Not really. He just told me that if I come in and work hard, spots are up for grabs being as though he is just coming in. He was like whoever works the hardest is going to get the most playing time so I expect to come in and work hard."

    You had 20 or so schools offer you a scholarship. How hard was it to trim it down to four or five schools?
    "It was real hard. I just sat down with my grandmother and my AAU coaches and we discussed it. I expressed what I wanted in a college, and we just took it from there."

    "He's very fundamentally sound because he continues to work hard."
    How tough was it to narrow it down that quickly?
    "Like I said, it wasn't that tough because I just expressed to my family and AAU coaches what I wanted in a college program. It wasn't that hard."

    Is the focus now on a championship?
    "I was focused last year. Now it's just a matter of getting it done."

    What will we see different from you this year?
    "Probably my footwork. Just getting up and down the floor. Just rebounding and blocking shots. Doing what a big man is suppose to do."

    Are they recruiting you as a center or power forward?
    "He hasn't expressed that to me that much. He just told me that the kind of plays they run are more than one-dimensional. I guess I'll be all over the place."

    Wheeler Head Coach Doug Lipscomb
    Talk about what J.J. will bring to NC State.
    "I think he'll be able to help them basically on the inside and outside because he's that versatile. He's very fundamentally sound because he continues to work hard, and I see nothing but a bright future for J.J."

    How does J.J. fit in with the rest of the kids that you have had come through at Wheeler?
    "He's one of the most talented kids that I've had come along through Wheeler, and I think that's a credit to him because of his hard work and the efforts that the people in the Wildcat family put forth in making sure that our kids are successful. Hopefully he won't be the last kid to go to Division I. We're looking for several others to step up to the plate.

    "I think his strength, his size, and his fundamentally skills are continuing to develop. I'm looking forward to seeing him play this year as well as in the future."

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