Tony Hicks is the latest graduate transfer at UofL. Following in the footsteps of Trey Lewis and Damion Lee, Hicks graduated from Penn last year and arrived at UofL with one year of eligibility. The Chicago native scored 1,060 points in three seasons for the Quakers, starting 64 games. As a junior, he led the team, averaging 13.2 points per game. Hicks saw extended playing time for UofL when Quentin Snider was sidelined by a hip injury. He scored a UofL career-high 16 points in a January 21 loss at No. 6 Florida State and then followed that up with a 10-point effort in a 55-point win at Pittsburgh on January 24. In that Pitt game, Hicks suffered a broken bone in his hand midway through the first half.
Coach Pitino and some of your teammates have called you Russ Smith quick. Are you that quick?
They’ve told me that and that’s just a huge compliment. I think it’s something that I haven’t ever really honed because of style of play, but this style of play shows it.
What is the main thing that you bring to this team?
I guess they call me one of our best defenders, but I’ve never been a defensive player. What’s most important to me is getting to the tournament and being on that big stage.
How disappointing was it when you got the news about your hand?
It was very disappointing. We went to two doctors and the first one said six to eight weeks and that was obviously very devastating. They brought out the hard cast and asked me which color I wanted.
So did you get a second opinion?
After that, we went to another doctor and he said that it shouldn’t be that long.
How much more comfortable did you feel on the court in the last few games that you played in?
That’s just something that I had to realize. It’s a new system and I’m learning a new position. I can’t play the same way. My teammates have been great in helping me adjust.
How did you become friends with Damion Lee and how did he help get you here?
Our schools, Penn and Drexel, literally neighbored each other, so we would go play with those guys all the time in the summer and things like that. It was devastating for him when he hurt his knee and couldn’t play, and I found out he was going to Louisville and I was just really happy for him. Similar situation, not an injury, came about for myself, and he just rang my phone and it was just a blessing in disguise.
How different is college basketball here as opposed to the Ivy League?
It’s a complete 180.
In what ways?
For the most part, just playing with much more talented guys is the biggest difference, and I think that’s been the biggest adjustment for me.
How have you adjusted your game?
Not trying to be so aggressive and do everything. Not trying to lead the nation in scoring, just trying to let the game come to me and make the simple plays.
When do you hope to be back?
I don’t think it’ll be too bad, hopefully two to three weeks max. VT