For a list of the other Gatorade State Boys Basketball POYs, click here.
THE WINNER: Isaiah Hicks
School: J.F. Webb (Oxford, N.C.)
Position: Power forward
Weight: 210 pounds
Athletic achievement: He led the Warriors to a 27-5 record and the Class 3A state championship this past season. Hicks averaged 22.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.6 blocks, 1.8 steals and 1.3 assists per game. A McDonald’s High School All-American Game selection, he shot 58 percent from the field, 41 percent from 3-point range and 66 percent from the free throw line. Hicks amassed 34 points, a tournament-record 30 rebounds and seven blocks in a 73-70, title-clinching overtime victory against Statesville (N.C.), capturing the Class 3A championship game Most Valuable Player honors. He also participated in the adidas Nations Global Championships and NBPA Top 100 Camp this past summer.
Academic excellence: Hicks has maintained a B average.
Exemplary character: In addition to volunteering on behalf of community service initiatives in association with his church, he has donated his time to “Team Meghan,” a fundraising effort to benefit 11-year-old Oxford native Meghan Bunn’s battle against brain cancer.
“Coaching against him is a nightmare,” said Wilton Baskett, coach of rival Northern Vance (Henderson, N.C.). “He’s 6-foot-9, but moves as gracefully as a point guard. A lot of times bigs are more stationary, but he’s shooting 3’s, getting assists, making mid-range jumpers and dunking off the rim without bringing it down. He’s phenomenal. I was just telling people, ‘Graduation is June 8, and June 9 will be one of the happiest days of my career, because Isaiah will be gone, and now we’ll have a chance.’”
THE FUTURE: Hicks has signed with North Carolina.