Hicks Begins Tar Heel Career

Perhaps no hoops signee in recent years has wanted to attend North Carolina as much as Isaiah Hicks. His commitment nearly two years ago – which came just a couple of hours after receiving an offer from Roy Williams – has become recruiting lore because of its quick turnaround.

He's a quiet, reserved 18-year-old on the exterior, but a passionate, budding star on the inside.

So, when Hicks said he was just "excited" about enrolling at UNC this past weekend, you have to consider his point of reference. It's not a slight, but more so a sign of his maturity.

For Hicks, the show is over. It's time to go to work.

"I mean, it was crazy when I committed, but that's over with," he said. "Now I'm just excited to get there and play hard. This is something I've always dreamed about."

A 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward and the highest rated incoming UNC recruit since James Michael McAdoo, Hicks has been preparing his body for the daily grind of ACC basketball.

He followed a custom plan designed by UNC strength and conditioning coach Jonas Sahratian.

"They sent us a video on how to train so I've been doing that a lot," he said. "They told us we can do that and any other workouts we want. It's cool because it's a lot of stuff I've done before like box squats but it doesn't have any weights. Besides that, I run the track and all that during the week."

In addition, he used his experiences over the past few months to boost his confidence in his all-around game.

Hicks helped Oxford (N.C.) Webb win the state 3-A championship, finishing with 34 points and 30 rebounds. He played in the McDonald's All-American game in March with roommate and fellow signee Kennedy Meeks. He was named AP State Player of the Year in North Carolina and also participated in the Carolinas All-Star Basketball Classic.

"I learned a lot at that stuff," Hicks explained. "(Me being there) shows you what hard work can get you and all that, and how hard you have to work to stay at that level."

Along with Meeks, Hicks will room with 2013 point guard signee Nate Britt.

"It's a good relationship," he said of the trio. "We'll get closer because we're going to be together all the time. We're all focused players who want to try and get others involved."

Like Meeks, Hicks will have an opportunity to compete with sophomores Joel James and Brice Johnson and juniors Jackson Simmons and Desmond Hubert for the Tar Heels' open spot in the post opposite McAdoo.

"Blocking shots is how I can play early," said Hicks. "But I'm working on everything and they (the UNC coaches) haven't talked about playing early."

With junior guard Luke Davis already wearing his preferred number, Hicks said he will wear No. 22 at UNC.

Isaiah Hicks profile


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