Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

Buzz Building for UNC's Isaiah Hicks

Isaiah Hicks led all scorers at Friday's scrimmage.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – No North Carolina player received more offseason buzz than Isaiah Hicks. And he did nothing to quiet that buzz at ‘Late Night with Roy.’

Roy Williams called him a “big, strong rascal” at Media Day. Former Tar Heel Harrison Barnes said he really liked the way Hicks was playing during pickup games.

Sophomore Theo Pinson offered his opinion after Friday’s Late Night scrimmage.

“He’s a monster,” Pinson said of Hicks. “I can’t wait for him to just explode. When he gets the board, Coach says he can take it by himself because he’s just that gifted. He’s a freak.”

Hicks had a game-high 14 points on 6-9 shooting and five rebounds in the team scrimmage on Friday night.

“You see a relentless rebounder,” said senior Joel James. “A very strong guy who has a high motor. He can do a lot of things, he can bring the ball up the floor, he can pass, he can shoot.”

Hicks will vie for playing time in a frontcourt that also features James, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks.

“He’s taking the ball to the basket,” said Roy Williams. “Isaiah’s had a good preseason; he’s worked his tail off in the offseason. We need him to score, we need him to take the ball to the basket and be a lot more aggressive than he’s been in the past.”

The 6-9 junior from Oxford, N.C. spent a significant amount of time this summer training with San Antonio Spurs forward David West, whose brother, Dwayne West, is president of Hicks’s AAU team.

If UNC’s summer pickup games, the first 14 practices and the Late Night scrimmage are any indication, Hicks will be a significant contributor to the 2015-16 Tar Heels.

“I see a guy who is hungry to prove to everyone what he can do,” James explained. “He had limited minutes freshman year, limited minutes sophomore year. He’s kind of the sleeper in that junior class, so I feel like he’s going to break out and do a lot of big things.”

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