TOC Spotlight: Isaiah Hicks

RALEIGH, N.C. - Isaiah Hicks knows exactly where he wants to play college basketball when he enrolls in the fall of 2013.

The University of North Carolina.

It's unusual that a high-major prospect only completing his sophomore year of high school names a leader, let alone says - unequivocally -- he'd commit to a certain school if offered a scholarship.

But Hicks, a 6-foot-7 forward from Body of Christ Academy in Raleigh, has publicly stated his admiration for Roy Williams's program on numerous occasions.

After his Garner Road Bulldogs 16-under team topped Team Loaded at the Tournament of Champions on Saturday, Hicks didn't back down from his previous statements.

"I like everything about the school - the basketball team and the academics," he explained. "I grew up watching Carolina basketball. I watched pretty much all the players they had, Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, Raymond Felton -- all of them. I just like everything they do."

That hasn't stopped other schools from continuing to recruit Hicks. He claims offers from North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Clemson.

"State -- it's good," he said. "If Carolina don't offer me, I'll go to State."

Hicks said he has regular contact with the UNC coaching staff and he hopes to make it to Chapel Hill to play pickup with the team in June. As far as a scholarship offer from Carolina, Hicks said the Tar Heels' coaches have told him to continue to improve and that they'd watch him more during the July evaluation period.

On the court, Hicks uses unparalleled athleticism, lateral quickness and leaping ability to wreak havoc on opposing wing and post players alike.

Against Team Loaded, in addition to his 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, Hicks grabbed seven rebounds, blocked eight shots and had two steals. Several times Hicks turned what appeared to be open layups for Team Loaded into blocks and fast break opportunities for the Bulldogs.

Garner Road coach Anton Gill, the father of 2013 guard Anton Gill Jr., said Hicks's defensive skill set reminded him of a Chicago Bulls great.

"If you look at his body, he's like a Scottie Pippen defensively," said Gill. "When you have a kid like him protecting the basket... our kids know Isaiah is there to cover up for them if they get beat. "He covers so much space, so quickly -- it's huge for our defensive scheme. He can lock you down."

Gill believes Hicks will eventually become a combo forward playing both on the wing and in the post. He also said that Hicks's versatility makes him a good fit for UNC's up-tempo style of play.

"He's a great athlete," he explained. "He runs the floor well and is continuing to develop his perimeter skills. He has all the tools. If he continues to improve, keeps working on his game and on that shot he can definitely be an impact player."

So just how good does Gill think Hicks can be?

"I've been around a lot of player, but just off of raw athletic ability he's one of the best kids I've ever coached," he said. "He's an amazing athlete. If he continues to work hard and strengthen his body, the sky is the limit for him."

Isaiah Hicks Profile

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