Heels Keeping Close Eye on Ga. PF

James Hickson is slowly making it known that he is one of the best power forwards that the 2007 class has to offer. The 6-8 220-pound post player led his team to the Final Four in Georgia's state tournament and averaged 20 points and 10 boards per game.

With his season now over, Hickson has been working on moving his game farther away from the basket. His AAU coach, Desmond Eastmond of the World Wide Renegades, said that Hickson is adding more skill to an already strong game.

"A power game with a lot of skill," is how Eastmond summed up Hickson. "He can be a power player, but his footwork is immaculate for a big man. He has a very smooth stroke from anywhere from 16 to 17 feet."

Hickson is clearly one of the best players in his state. But his coach believes that he is one of the best in the country and he'll have a chance to prove that this summer.

"He solidified himself as one of the top 10 in the country," Eastmond said. "He just needs to play his whole game with the intensity and skill level. He can rebound and blocks shots. He really needs to be on the floor with the marquee players."

The schools recruiting Hickson back up Eastmond's claim. Schools like North Carolina, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Tennessee, UConn, Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Georgetown, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia Tech and Virgina have all shown a good amount of interest in him.

Sandra Glass, who is associated with the World Wide Renegades and is assisting in his recruitment, said that North Carolina is seriously recruiting him and have made multiple trips to "Of course they are," Glass said when asked if the Tar Heels were showing strong interest. "They have been down to see him twice. They have seen him play a whole lot just like Kentucky and all the other schools."

So have the Tar Heels offered a scholarship? It can be complicated to determine if recruits have actual scholarship offers or not, however, both Eastmond and Glass believe that Hickson has a solid offer on the table.

"Yes, they offered," Glass said. "The associate head coach came down and watched him play twice and has talked to him [a lot] on the phone."

"Yes," Eastmond replied, when asked if the Tar Heels had offered. "They came to see him and Coach Robinson has been here three or four times.

Whether he has an offer or not, it is obvious that Hickson is clearly on UNC's radar for the class of 2007. And with the AAU circuit rapidly approaching, the Tar Heels will have plenty of opportunities next month to see him play.

The Renegades will participate in the Real Deal on the Hill, Kingwood and the King James Shooting Stars in April.

James Hickson

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