Isaiah Hicks, who will be in Chapel Hill next season and Joel Berry, a 2014 PG commit both finished their seasons with their respective teams winning state titles
Hicks, a 6-8 power forward, set a NCHSAA championship game record for rebounds in J.F. Webb's 73-70 overtime win over Statesville to win the 3-A state championship on Saturday night. The record was previously held by now Miami center Reggie Johnson. Hicks had 34 points, 30 rebounds and 7 blocks despite playing in foul trouble for most of the second half and fouling out late in the overtime session. ESPN senior recruiting analyst Dave Telep was impressed.
"In 17 years of doing this, I once saw Kevin Love get 32 rebounds in a game and had never heard of anyone approaching it until Hicks did it last weekend," said ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep. "Think of it this way, he pulled down one rebound every minute for the entire game.
"Rebounding is a reflection of the effort and desire you have. To sustain that focus and effort for the entire game is remarkable."
It is too early to speculate about next season since we have no idea what the roster may look like or know if Hicks can make an immediate impact. Given UNC's deficiencies if he can, it would be a great help.
Meanwhile down in Florida, Berry scored 21 points, dished out four assists and had three steals as his Lake Highland team won the 4-A state title over Boca Raton St. Andrew's. Berry was hampered by a knee injury early in the season and without him his team went 3-5. They were 21-0 with Berry on the court. Berry is a junior and will have another season to try for a second state championship.
While there is probably no tangible link between winning on the prep level and what players do in college, it is nice to see UNC recruits winning championships at their respective schools. Winning is winning and there are times when having gone through a championship run, even at the high school level, is helpful in building a player's mentality and motivation. They clearly understand on some level what it means to set a goal as part of a team and then reach it. If that doesn't have to be taught when they come to campus, so much the better.