Katrina evacuee Hicks takes the long road to DI basketball

asked 2017-12-10 09:52:17 -0500

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The floodwaters' power erased the carpet on the lower half of the stairs, leaving nothing 3 kemenangan (www.dewilgenplas.nl) but exposed wood and nails. Mildew covered what was left downstairs, and a pungent, decaying smell embedded in the nostrils. This was the home of Kevin Hicks' grandmother and, in a way, she was lucky. The water did not reach the second story. A few minutes away in New Orleans' 9th Ward, Hicks' childhood home was unsalvageable.

In this photo taken Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, Sacramento State guard Kevin Hicks encourages a teammate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against UC Davis, in Sacramento, Calif. Hicks broke down in his first trip back to the 9th Ward of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina uprooted his family. The bones are what hit Hicks. Not the house that was destroyed, not the devastation still apparent three years later, not the clothes wadded up in the corner of what was once his bedroom.

No, the bones of the family dog scattered in the yard are what did it. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) An icky mildew blanket covered the floors and walls. The television lay flipped over. So, too, was Hicks' bed, tossed to the opposite side of the room. A Spiderman painting in his room, started by his father before the waters rose, peeled back. The floors were spongy and ready to give way. In the front yard, something struck Hicks like a thunderbolt to the heart: Bones.

Three years earlier, the family left for Houston to escape Hurricane Katrina. They expected to be back in a day or two, as they had when Hurricane Ivan skipped past New Orleans. Angel, a little black pug and Kevin's first pet, did not make the trip. "That really got to me," Hicks said. "When you're 13, 14 years old and you see the dog on the ground, just bones, it really hurts." That pain became fuel, propelling him to Sacramento State and his dream of playing Division I college basketball.

___ The smaller programs among the 351 in Division I - the low-majors - typically don't have the five-star-rated future pros found on the rosters of college basketball's bluebloods. Their players are still elite athletes who can shoot, dribble and jump better than almost anyone. What's missing is an intangible - usually a lack of height, weight or both- that keeps them off the radar of programs like Duke, Kansas and North Carolina.

Hicks is a 5-foot-11, 168-pound junior who is not a true point guard, undersized for an off-guard. What he can do is shoot, play with a badger-like tenacity and has, in the parlance of coaches, a pop to him. Sacramento State coach Brian Katz noticed those traits immediately at a showcase tournament in Dallas this spring. "He can really shoot it and we needed some help in that area," Katz said.

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