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Loss of Knee Brace Sparks Darryl Hicks

Sophomore guard Darryl Hicks is showing signs of what made him a four-star recruit earlier in his career.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Report by Eric Hoffses

Early on in this season there have been many surprises both good and bad from the BC basketball team. One of the best surprises that has emerged of late is sophomore guard Darryl Hicks.

Hicks has had an interesting journey to the Heights. As a junior in high school he ranked in the Top 150 nationally and was a four-star recruit with offers from traditional powerhouses like Indiana and Arizona and with interest from schools like Kentucky and Ohio State. During the AAU Summer circuit Hicks moved from the two guard over to the point and the results weren’t nearly as good as when Hicks played off the ball. The result was Hicks dropped in the rankings which caused some of the big-time schools to back off him. BC along with Xavier, Wake Forest, Texas A&M and Western Kentucky recruited Hicks the hardest at the end and he committed to BC in March of 2013.

Hicks’ road continued to be a bit rocky as he missed his first season at BC recovering from ACL surgery. Hicks missed last season after suffering another ACL injury.

When Jim Christian was asked about Hicks leading into camp this year he admitted that he had no idea what the guard could give him since he hadn’t really every seen him play and hadn’t recruited him. Hicks eased his way into practices in the preseason and went from spending half the practice on the court and half on the bike to spending all of practice on the court. The Kentucky native showed a little bit of scoring touch from the outside which caught the attention of the coaches but didn’t show off any of the driving ability which made him an intriguing dual scoring threat prospect to begin with.

In the three games since losing the brace Hicks is averaging 8.6 points in just under 18 minutes of playing time per game. According to KenPom.com, Hicks has an effective Field Goal % of 65.8% which is an incredibly high percentage, albeit in a very small sample size.

One of the benefits of losing the knee brace is that Hicks has become more and more comfortable driving the lane which is very valuable to the team right now. To this point the only players that have been showing driving ability with any consistency are Eli Carter and Jerome Robinson and to a much lesser extent A.J. Turner. It’s the reason that 40.4% of BC’s field goal attempts are three pointers, which is the 66th highest percentage in the country. When you match that number with a 33.6% three point shooting percentage it makes for some ugly looking offense at times.

One of the benefits of losing the knee brace was that Hicks has become more and more comfortable driving the lane. Look at these two possessions early on in the Maine game.

In the above clip Hicks drives the lane without hesitation and hits A.J. Turner in the corner for a wide open three point attempt.

In the clip above Hicks wastes no time attacking the hoop when he sees an open lane. Obviously Hicks will have to continue to prove that he can be a valuable offensive scoring threat off the bench especially against better competition. Showing off your skills against Maine and UMass-Lowell obviously doesn’t necessarily automatically translate to results against better competition. For now, Hicks is at least showing flashes of what made him such an intriguing prospect to so many quality programs just a few years ago. He has never looked better in his time at the Heights and is an easy kid to root for.