Katrina evacuee Hicks takes a prolonged highway to DI basketball

December 8, 2017 - Basketballs

The floodwaters’ energy erased a runner on a reduce half of a stairs, withdrawal zero though unprotected timber and nails. Mildew lonesome what was left downstairs, and a pungent, ebbing smell embedded in a nostrils.

This was a home of Kevin Hicks’ grandmother and, in a way, she was lucky. The H2O did not strech a second story.

A few mins divided in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, Hicks’ childhood home was unsalvageable.

An icky mould sweeping lonesome a floors and walls. The radio lay flipped over. So, too, was Hicks’ bed, tossed to a conflicting side of a room.

A Spiderman portrayal in his room, started by his father before a waters rose, peeled back. The floors were squashy and prepared to give way.

In a front yard, something struck Hicks like a thunderbolt to a heart: Bones.

Three years earlier, a family left for Houston to shun Hurricane Katrina. They approaching to be behind in a day or two, as they had when Hurricane Ivan skipped past New Orleans.

Angel, a small black pug and Kevin’s initial pet, did not make a trip.

“That unequivocally got to me,” Hicks said. “When you’re 13, 14 years aged and we see a dog on a ground, only bones, it unequivocally hurts.”

That pain became fuel, moving him to Sacramento State and his dream of personification Division we college basketball.


The smaller programs among a 351 in Division we — a low-majors — typically don’t have a five-star-rated destiny pros found on a rosters of college basketball’s bluebloods.

Their players are still chosen athletes who can shoot, leap and burst improved than roughly anyone. What’s blank is an unsubstantial — customarily a miss of height, weight or both— that keeps them off a radar of programs like Duke, Kansas and North Carolina.

Hicks is a 5-foot-11, 168-pound youth who is not a loyal indicate guard, small for an off-guard.

What he can do is shoot, play with a badger-like persistence and has, in a parlance of coaches, a cocktail to him.

Sacramento State manager Brian Katz beheld those traits immediately during a showcase contest in Dallas this spring.

“He can unequivocally fire it and we indispensable some assistance in that area,” Katz said. “He’s also a loyal loser and we like that.”

Repetition honed Hicks’ sharpened ability.

He spent a hours after propagandize and weekends sharpened on playgrounds and gyms all over town, regulating it to strech his DI dream, though also as a form of gushing from a problems in life heaped on him.

“All he did was a shoot, shoot, shoot,” his mother, Carla Hicks, said. “If he wasn’t in school, he was out shooting.”

Tenacity fake itself during a tough times, from apropos mature during an early age by necessity, losing all and clawing to get it back.

“I’m a tough kid,” Hicks said. “You comprehend that all we have right now could be left in a matter of seconds and creates we grateful for what we have.”


Hicks and his sister, Vershan, had an halcyon life in New Orleans, enjoying their school, friends, a neighborhood, personification outside.

Hurricane Katrina sent them to Houston, packaged with what they could fit into dual cars a day before a charge done landfall. Too chaotic, too many evacuees, lines for schools too long.

Carla knew someone in Georgia. With her husband, Kevin Sr., deployed in Saudi Arabia, she motionless to immigrate a family.

It did not go over well.

“Me and my sister hated it. We didn’t wish to be there during all,” pronounced Kevin, 10 when they moved. “My mom and pops were like, you’ve only got to give it a chance, though we were so stubborn. We were immature and it hurt. Our home was gone. We had nothing.”

Kennesaw is a suburb of Atlanta, though has a parochial feel. In other words, zero like a Hicks had in New Orleans.

The initial 3 months, 6 family members common dual beds in a hotel room. Kids during their new propagandize shunned Kevin and Vershan, job them refugees. They were miserable.

“All we had was any other,” Kevin said.

Time altered perceptions.

They done friends. They favourite a school. Kevin played basketball.

They were comfortable. They were home.

Then they weren’t.

Kevin’s grandmother, Verona Atkins, altered behind to New Orleans, where she spent her whole life. The rest of a family followed, uprooting again.

They returned to a New Orleans still shop-worn and perplexing to reanimate from Katrina.

“I was amatory Georgia,” Kevin said. “It had turn home and when we returned to New Orleans, we could only feel a hate. Hate everywhere. Pain.”


Hicks’ dream of personification Division we basketball hatched around a ninth grade, when relatives and friends beheld he was not like other stadium kids. He had ability. Earn-a-scholarship ability.

Hicks done DI hoops his goal, relentlessly operative to turn one of New Orleans’ best high propagandize players.

College programs opposite Louisiana became meddlesome in a sharp-shooting ensure who played with an edge: Northwestern State, University of New Orleans, Southeastern, Nichols State.

Hicks didn’t have a ACT scores to get into those schools, so he went a JUCO route, personification during Western Texas College on a hinterland of Snyder, race 11,202.

Culture. Shock.

“Sometimes if we got bored, we’d only go to Walmart,” he said.

Hicks helped lead a Westerners to a NJCAA Region 5 contest for a third time given 1985 and became a initial in his family to acquire a college degree.

He waited for a Division we offer. None came, so Hicks went to a Dallas showcase with a purpose.

“I was going to come out of Dallas with something,” he said.

He did. The contest was in late Apr and, on a initial Monday in May, Katz called with his offer.

Kevin scarcely pennyless down on a phone. Carla did when he called with a news, cheering and praying along a way: “Praise a Lord!”

Kevin Hicks would be a Division we basketball player.

“He kept revelation me, ‘Mama I’m going to DI, Mama, I’m going to DI’ and he worked until he got it,” Carla Hicks said. “It’s flattering amazing.”


Kevin has staid in during Sac State, amatory a universe of Division we basketball notwithstanding a composition from JUCO ball.

He’s played each game, averaging 6.2 points, a high of 13 opposite Notre Dame de Namur.

New Orleans will always be home, though personification Division we basketball is where he belongs.

“I’m during a place everybody knew we should be,” Hicks said. “It was only a prolonged highway to get here.”


More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP—Top25

source ⦿ http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/katrina-evacuee-hicks-takes-long-road-di-basketball-51663095

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