It’s hard to decide whether it’s too soon or not to really be looking ahead to next year’s basketball team. Granted it’s only March and there’s lots of basketball still to be played this year around the country. On the other hand, Louisville’s season is over so let’s look ahead to next season.
Damion Lee and Trey Lewis leave some huge shoes to fill on this basketball roster. Louisville is welcoming 6’4 guard Frankie Hughes and the highly recruited 6’7 forward V.J. King. Along with these two freshman, the done-and-one experiment continues with the addition of Tony Hicks, a 6’2 guard out of the University of Pennsylvania. After three seasons at Penn, Hicks decided to sit out his senior season and play his final year of collegiate basketball at the University of Louisville.
During his three seasons at Penn, Hicks put up pretty decent numbers.
2012-2013: 23.2 minutes, 10.4 ppg, 39.4 FG%, 2 apg, 2.5 rpg
2013-2014: 28.3 minutes, 14.9 ppg, 41.6 FG%, 2.9 apg, 3.1 rpg
2014-2015: 27.5 minutes, 13.2 ppg, 40.3 FG%, 2.5 apg, 3.2 rpg
Not listed is his 3 point free throw percentage. In his junior campaign, Hicks shot 37% from beyond the arc. While that’s already a pretty decent number, I’d love to see that number rise at UofL. However, Hicks averaged more turnovers per game than he did assists in all three seasons at Penn. This is a part of his game that needs improvement if he wants to see minutes next season.
I had the opportunity to chat with Hicks this week and the first thing that stuck out to me was how nice he was. I can tell that we have a quality person coming to Louisville next season.
@RCC_mrtignor: “What were some deciding factors in sitting our your senior year at Penn and choosing your last year of ball at Louisville? How was that news taken at Penn by your coaches, teammates, and fans?
@1of1Tone: “Well it wasn’t really a decision I made on my own. The new coach basically gave me the ultimatum to accept a much lesser role or transfer. I felt that I had been through so much and invested so much here that I couldn’t allow my collegiate career to end that way, so I decided to transfer after graduation. Honestly everyone was shocked that this happened, however they all understood my situation and that this was somewhat of a business decision for me. Everyone has been supportive of me and kept me positive throughout the process of finding a new home.”
@1of1Tone: “But yeah, I had no intentions of sitting out and transferring. Coach Donahue brought the ultimatum to me two weeks before our first games and he felt he was trying to save my eligibility by giving me the option.”
@RCC_mrtignor: “What made you ultimately decide to come to Louisville? Were any other schools in the mix? What are your thoughts on Coach Pitino?”
@1of1Tone: “If not Louisville, I probably would have committed to Oregon. Miami was also very interested. But once I came down to see the guys play Wake and got a whiff of what the fan base and support is like, it was something I couldn’t pass up along with playing for Coach P. Also having known Damion and see his and Trey’s success, I felt it would be a great fit. My high school coach has known Coach P for over 25 years from New York, also sending him Francisco Garcia, and he felt that Louisville would be a very good fit for me as well.”
@RCC_mrtignor: “What are your strengths and weaknesses on the court? Is there a pro player who you try to model your game after or think that you play like?”
@1of1Tone: “I have been asked to score on my past teams and that’s what people know me for. I also want to work on becoming a better defender. I really don’t like when the other team scores. But as far as a pro player, I’ve heard all kinds of different players. I think that’s because I can do a lot of different things offensively, but I personally don’t try to model my game from one specific player. I watch everybody and try to learn from everyone.”
(This part coming up was my favorite part of the interview)
@RCC_mrtignor: “Damion and Trey have been so huge from Louisville, on and off the court. When your time at Louisville has finished, how do you want to be remembered by the Louisville fans?”
@1of1Tone: “I just want everyone to see that I am a blue collar guy who will work for everything that I want. Someone who is a true professional on and off the court. Finally, someone who will do whatever is asked and needed in order for us to win ball games.”
@RCC_mrtignor: “Who are you pulling for in the year’s tournament?”
@1of1Tone: “I don’t pull for any team except Louisville. That being said, I have tons of friends who are still playing and I’ll be cheering them all on. I feel that Kansas has been playing the best basketball recently and would choose them to win it all if I had to. But it’s all Louisville for me…”
@RCC_mrtignor: “I’d imagine you aren’t working out with the team at Penn, so how much training are you doing to prepare for next season?”
@1of1Tone: “Well now that the season is over, I do get to play pickup with them, but other than that, I workout twice a day and lift three times a week. I feel good about where I am, but I try to somehow get better every single day.”
@RCC_mrtignor: “CardNation is excited to have you on campus to get working with this team. Do you have a message for the fans you want to share?”
@1of1Tone: “I’d just want to let them know that I’m fully committed to the city of Louisville, the basketball program, the University, as well as the fans and I can’t wait to get to work.”
I feel really confident that this is a guy we want at the University of Louisville. Not only is he a good basketball player, but he seems like a class act and I can’t wait to see how he contributes next season.