Tag: Isaiah Hicks

Isaiah Hicks, Patrick Heckmann
Associated Press

Hicks shows his value in UNC scrimmage at ‘Late Night’ event

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Regardless of how much talent returns, North Carolina still needs Isaiah Hicks to carve out some playing time in a crowded frontcourt.

Hicks scored 14 points in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage to punctuate Friday’s annual “Late Night with Roy” show, which is the ceremonial start to the basketball season.

Hicks, a 6-foot-9 junior, went 6-for-9 from the field according to unofficial statistics in the White team’s 41-32 victory over the Blue team.

“Isaiah has had a good preseason, has worked his tail off in the offseason,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “You’re right, 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.”

Hicks averaged 6.6 points and shot 54 percent from the field as a reserve in 35 of 38 games last season playing behind all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks inside. Hicks could force his way into more minutes – he averaged 14.8 last season – if he can carry over the attacking style he showed Friday night into the season.

“He didn’t play a lot last year so teams really don’t have a scouting report for him, but the guy can do so many things,” senior center Joel James said. “He’s a mismatch for any guy in the country right now. He can do a lot of great things and score the ball effortlessly, whenever he wants to.”

Hicks’ potential is one of many strengths for a UNC team that enters the season with huge expectations.

Four starters and nine of the top 10 scorers return from a team that took eventual finalist Wisconsin to the final minutes of an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 loss. UNC was tied with Kentucky for No. 1 in the USA Today coaches’ poll, while The Associated Press Top 25 debuts Nov. 2.

“We actually don’t even talk about it that much,” sophomore Theo Pinson said of the No. 1 ranking. “Once we hear the alerts that come to our phone and stuff like that, we see it. We’re like, `Well, no need to talk about it, just go out there and play basketball.’ We’re just ready to play, really.”

The annual event full of dancing, skits and humor was also part of a daylong tribute to late ESPN broadcaster and alumnus Stuart Scott. The school inducted Scott in the afternoon into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame, based in the UNC School of Media and Journalism.

The school honored Scott during “Late Night,” which he first hosted in 2001 and did so 10 times. Scott died in January after a lengthy fight against cancer.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org.

What if today was college basketball’s trade deadline?

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In honor of today’s NBA trade deadline, where far too many people will spend the day obsessing over where Goran Dragic, Enes Kanter and Reggie Jackson will end up, we give you college basketball’s deadline deals. 

If teams at the collegiate level were allowed to swap players, what are some moves that could help turn pretenders into contenders, or contenders into favorites? Here are six trades that would fill holes on the roster of both teams:

1. North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks for Cal’s Jordan Mathews

  • UNC makes this trade because: The Tar Heels have plenty of bodies up front. What they need is another player on their perimeter that can knock down jumpers. Mathews is shooting 45.0 percent from three on the season, meaning he is a guy that would allow Marcus Paige to play on the ball more.
  • Cal makes this trade because: They need help on the interior. Badly. Losing Mathews is not exactly ideal, but with Jabari Bird on the perimeter as well, they have the depth to be able to make a change. The Bears are not as far out of the bubble picture as you might think, and adding this piece for the stretch run could be the difference.

2. Ohio State’s Kam Williams for Texas’ Prince Ibeh

  • OSU makes this trade because: Ibeh is as big, as physical and as athletic as any front court player in the country. He can block shots, he can run the floor and he can go blow-for-blow in the post with anyone. Texas can spare him because he plays essentially the same role as Cameron Ridley, who is worlds better offensively, but Ohio State would make use of him as the shot-blocking presence that allows them to extend their defense.
  • Texas makes this trade because: One of the issues for Texas this season is that they have too many big bodies and not enough scoring pop in their back court. Williams is a streaky shooter, but he’s a guy with a reputation for being a big-time scorer that can provide scoring pop off the bench or from a starting role.
source: AP
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3. Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss for Louisville’s Shaqquan Aaron

  • Washington makes this trade because: This season is a bust for Washington, who watched as their chances to make the NCAA tournament disappeared when Robert Upshaw got the boot. They need to start over, and what better was to do that than by bringing in a former top 30 recruit from Seattle. Aaron was lambasted by Pitino after the loss to Syracuse on Wednesday, meaning he may be out the door already. Why not try and get something in return?
  • Louisville makes this trade because: The biggest issue for Louisville this season? They don’t have a lead guard on their roster that makes everyone else better. Terry Rozier is extremely talented, but he’s a scorer first, second and third. Chris Jones is an elite defender, but he’s a gunner that wants to be Russ Smith. Nigel Williams-Goss is not an ideal fit defensively for Rick Pitino, but he’s one of the nation’s most underrated point guards, a guy that will get easy shots for some of his new, offensively-challenged teammates.

4. BYU’s Skyler Halford for San Diego State’s Angelo Chol

  • BYU makes this trade because: The Cougars need some physicality in the paint, and Chol will provide that. He’s not really a low-post scoring threat, but he blocks shots, he rebounds, he plays hard and he’ll provide a big, physical body in the paint to help deal with guys like Brad Waldow and Gonzaga’s front line. He can be to BYU what Jameel McKay is to Iowa State.
  • SDSU makes this trade because: The Aztecs cannot score. They lack elite shooting and they don’t have enough playmakers on their roster to help breakdown a defense. Halford is a knock-down jump shooter and a better creator than he gets credit for, and he’s an expendable piece for the Cougars given how many talented perimeter players are on that roster.

5. Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas for Kansas’ Svi Mykhailiuk

  • Syracuse makes this trade because: The Orange literally are not playing for anything this season beyond pride, thanks to the ludicrous decision that the school made to self-impose a postseason ban for this year. That means that Christmas, a senior having an all-american caliber season, is a valuable piece. Mykhailiuk is a freshman, but he’s only 17 years old. He’s long, he’s athletic and he can shoot, meaning he’ll fit in the Orange zone, and he needs at least one, maybe two more years in college before he’s ready to go pro.
  • Kansas makes this trade because: The one thing the Jayhawks are missing this season is a true low-post scoring threat, and that’s precisely what Christmas is. He’d take the pressure off of their perimeter players, and while giving up Mykhailiuk means giving up a terrific prospect, it would make Kansas a real national title contender versus being a streaky shooting team with a shot at the Final Four.

6. Indiana’s Stanford Robinson for Louisiana’s Shawn Long

  • Indiana makes this trade because: Indiana has been forced to play small-ball this season because of their lack of size in the paint. They spread the floor, they jack up threes and they are as entertaining as any team in the country when those threes are going down. But they’re also the worst power conference team on the defensive end of the floor, and Long should help that. He’s a 6-foot-9 shot-blocker that can score on the block and has three-point range.
  • Louisiana makes this trade because: Losing Long hurts, but adding Robinson might end up being more valuable. Remember, this is the program that turned Elfrid Payton into a lottery pick, and while Robinson is a different player than Payton, the former top 30 recruit can still be a dynamic slasher from the wing. He’s fallen out of favor at Indiana, averaging just 11 minutes.

North Carolina bounces back from disappointing Bahamas opener

Nate Britt, Roy Williams
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Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels were scheduled to play just two games in the Bahamas this weekend, and the quick trip from Chapel Hill did not get off to the best of starts. With missed free throws down the stretch and poor perimeter shooting being the culprits, the Tar Heels dropped an 84-83 decision to the Providence Storm Friday night.

North Carolina had no such issues against the Bahamas All-Stars, as they dominated from start to finish in the 109-52 victory. As a team the Tar Heels shot nearly 63 percent from the field, and they finished the game shooting 7-for-13 from three after making just three of their twenty-five attempts on Friday.

Isaiah Hicks leading three UNC players in double figures with 19 points, with freshman Justin Jackson (16 points) and senior Desmond Hubert (12) joining Hicks, and in total eight players scoring at least seven points against their overmatched opponents.

Free throw and perimeter shooting were issues for North Carolina for most of the 2013-14 season, as they finished the year ranked dead last in the ACC in the former and ninth in the conference in the latter category. So those will be areas they’ll look to improve upon heading into 2014-15, and the improved perimeter depth should help matters.

After  dealing with the P.J. Hairston fiasco at the beginning last season, Marcus Paige and company ultimately won 24 games and fell just short of reaching the Sweet 16. With Paige leading the many returnees and a freshman class heavy on perimeter talent (Jackson, Joel Berry and Theo Pinson), the expectation heading into 2014-15 is that North Carolina will field a far more formidable team. North Carolina was able to bounce back from Friday’s disappointing performance Saturday, finishing their short trip to the Bahamas on a positive note.

“Our guys knew we played poorly yesterday and they came out with much better focus,” Williams said in the school’s recap of the game. “We didn’t finish last night the way we wanted to, but today we were much more in tune with what we wanted to do.

“We were much better defending on the ball, were more unselfish with the ball and our shots went in the basket, which was also a product of better passing.”