Isaiah Hicks has a college basketball career in his future at the University of North Carolina, but he has left a sufficient mark on the North Carolina prep landscape on his way out.
In leading his Oxford (N.C.) Webb High team to the first state title in school history, Hicks put up an astounding state record stat line in the final: 34 points and 30 rebounds, all part of a 73-70 overtime victory against Statesville (N.C.) High.
According to the News & Observer, Hicks also added seven blocks -- a number his coach claimed was far shy of the total that he should have been credited with -- in compiling one of the most dominant single game performances in state championship history … of any state.
“Wow, what a way for him to go out,” Webb coach Leo Brunelli told the News & Observer. “For him to put on a display like that wearing that Webb uniform for the last time – are you kidding me?”
Statesville mounted a late rally to close a 13-point deficit and force overtime, where Hicks eventually fouled out, but the story of the contest was the 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward himself, who rightfully earned the game’s MVP award for breaking the prior state finals record for rebounds in a game.
“We just didn’t foul him out early enough,” Statesville coach Sonny Schofield said. “What a fantastic performance.”
There have been plenty of other impressive performances -- the 50 points scored in a girls title game by Carlie Wagner just hours removed from Hicks' dominance among them -- but at least one national recruiting analyst could think of just one other prep player who had pulled down 30 or more rebounds in a state tournament: Kevin Love.
Needless to say, if Hicks continues to progress at Love's pace, he'll make Tar Heels fans, and those of an eventual NBA club, awfully happy.
- Sports & Recreation