SLU’s Hicks a clear fit

Luke Hicks won Liberty League Rookie of the Year last season, helping the St. Lawrence University men’s basketball team to a 16-10 overall mark. He averaged 10.4 points per game. Tara Freeman/St. Lawrence University

CANTON — St. Lawrence University men’s basketball coach Chris Downs did not know it at the time, but he started recruiting sophomore Luke Hicks almost 30 years ago.

Downs landed his first job as a coach at LeMoyne College, working for Luke’s father, Scott Hicks, and the pair have remained friends to this day.

When Luke was looking for a place to play college basketball, his father knew the perfect spot for him.

“He was telling me how great a coach (Downs) is, and how great a person he is,” Luke Hicks said of his father. “If he really wanted me to play for any college coach in all of America, coach Downs would be at the top of that list.”

Scott Hicks, now retired, owns an impressive basketball resume. He was recruited to Division II LeMoyne as a player by current Cleveland Cavaliers coach John Beilein. He worked as an assistant at Syracuse before becoming LeMoyne’s coach and then was a Division I head coach at Albany and Loyola (Md.). He also made LeMoyne’s Hall of Fame in 2002.

Luke Hicks, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard, was an impact player at Shenendehowa High School and then the Cushing Academy.

As a sophomore, he led Shenendehowa to the state Class AA title in 2015, scoring 25 points in a 64-46 victory over the Christian Brothers Academy of Syracuse.

“Out of high school I had offers from Army West Point, Columbia and the University of Hartford,” Hicks said. “The goal out of high school, when you are younger, is to play at the highest level you possibly can. I went to prep school and coach Downs kept recruiting me. I took a visit and loved the (SLU) campus and loved the team and loved everything about the school. I’m very happy where I ended up.”

Hicks’s decision to come to Canton paid off immediately for the Saints last season as he won Liberty League Rookie of the Year honors and helped SLU to a 16-10 overall record and a 13-5 record in Liberty League games.

Hicks started all 25 games, averaging 10.4 points, 3.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 29 minutes.

“He did some things in (preseason) practices and stuff where we would realize that’s a play that older and more mature guys make,” Downs said. “When we got him as a recruit, I thought he had a chance to be an all-conference player. Luke has great vision on the floor. He’s got really good understanding. His jump shot has improved from a year ago. He’s got good feel. He’s a big guard and that’s a handful at our level when most of the guards are (5-foot-11).

Hicks said he realized he was ready for college early on in his first game last season against SUNY Potsdam.

“I felt comfortable after the first couple minutes,” Hicks said. “I feel like I kind of eased into it. I felt like I’d be able to have an impact straight away. I didn’t come here expecting anything, you have to work hard to get what you have.”

Hicks ranked third on the team in scoring last year behind departed seniors Riley Naclerio (14.7 points) and Ben Crawford (11.8).

“Last year people paid attention to Riley Naclerio, to Ben Crawford, now they are going to pay attention to Luke, so he’s going to get the better defender every night,” Downs said. “It’s going to be important for him, early, to just try to get others involved and not be super concerned with scoring.”

Hicks still has three years, including this season, remaining, but don’t be surprised several years from now if you see him in a suit and tie standing on the sidelines coaching a team of his own.

“I want to play basketball for as long as I can, if there is any opportunity at all that’s option No. 1 for me,” Hicks said. “I definitely could (coach). With my dad being a coach I feel like I know a lot of what it takes and the hardships and stuff like that. I think that’s a good play for myself going forward.”


Clarkson Golden Knights

Coach: Jeff Gorski (6th year).

2018-19 records: 6-19 overall (5-13 Liberty League).

Roster: Joe Lucas (Jr. F), Dante Joefield (Fr. G), Roburt Welch (Jr. G), Ryan Miles-Ferguson (Fr. G), Nick Budesheim (Fr. G), Barryn Shark (Sr. G), Andrew Kelly (So. G/F), Chris Hulbert (So. G), Jake Purdy (Sr. F), Marques Bouyer (So. F), Aaron Clendenin (Fr. G), Blake Gearhart (Fr. G), Jason Phelps (Jr. G), Reese Swedberg (So. F), Matt Higgins (Sr. G), Teddy Fravel (Fr. F).

St. Lawrence Saints

Coach: Chris Downs (22nd year).

2018-19 records: 16-10 overall (13-5 Liberty League).

Roster: Kyle Hoffman (Fr. F), Brandon Arnold (Jr. G), Miles Davis (Fr. G), Andrew Geschickter (Fr. G), Jordan Huntley (So. G), Steve Low (Sr. F), Luke Hicks (So. G), Zach Friedland (Fr. G), Liam McDonald (Fr. G), Jack Scotnicki (Fr. G), Adeleke Karera (S. F), Trent Admson (Fr. F), Will Harrison (So. F), Cale Sargent (So. G), Chris Jeffrey (Jr. C).

SUNY Canton Kangaroos

Coach: Shiva Senthil (first year).

2018-19 records: 14-13 overall (9-5 NAC).

Roster: Kahdean Bennett (Sr. G), Brandon Averitt (So. G), Quran DuBois (So. G), Cole Fountain (Fr. G), George Nehma (So. F), Brandon Blaker (Sr. G), Juztin Chambers-Phillips (So. G), Danny Santana (Jr. G), Fadil Atcha-Dedji (Fr. F), Joseph Werner (Jr. F), Kobe Harrington (Fr. G), Marcus Allen (So. F), Zaavan Pedlar (Jr. G), Andrew Fitch (Jr. F), Ibu Smith (Sr. F).

SUNY Potsdam Bears

Coach: Jim Bechtel (4th year).

2018-19 records: 13-13 overall (9-9 SUNYAC).

Roster: Kristoff Saunders (Sr. C), Jayquan Thomas (Sr. G), Isaiah Joseph (So. G), Brian Pod (Fr. G), Austin Dropkin (Fr. G), Nana Annorh (Jr. G), Isaac Oduro (Fr. G), Danny Delsol-Lowry (Sr. G), Brandon Segar (Jr. F), Aaron Armstrong (Sr. G), Colby Simpson (Jr. G), Dante Viskovich (Jr. F), Hameed Dawodu (Fr. C), Tyrese Baptiste (Fr. C), Ahamadou Sillah (Fr. F).


Clarkson Golden Knights

Coach: Maureen Webster (5th year, 64-40).

2018-19 records: 7-18 overall (4-14 Liberty League).

Roster: Molly Stewart (Sr. G), Claire Flannery (So. G), Mariah Benavides (Fr. G), Maddie Pratt (So. F), Carly Assimon (Jr. G), Elaina Porter (Fr. F), Hannah Earl (Jr. G/F), Lauren Bell (So. F), Rachel Marion (Jr. G/F), Isabelle Sullivan (Fr. G), Emma Buonanno (Jr. G), Sierra Gonyo (Fr. G), Abigail Kienzle (Fr. G).

St. Lawrence Saints

Coach: Dan Roiger (11th year, 158-76).

2018-19 records: 8-17 overall (5-13 Liberty League).

Roster: Dylan Watkins (So. G), Olivia Middleton (Fr. G), Ava McCann (So. G), Erin Kumler (So. G), Caroline Rodi (Sr. G), Hannah Schwoebel (So. F), Olivia Barringer (Fr. F), Gunnhildur Atladottir (So. G), Nicole Jeffrey (Fr. G/F), Katie Frederick (Jr. F), Annabella Pugliese (Sr. F), Haattie Childs (Fr. F).

SUNY Canton Kangaroos

Coach: Josh Ward (first year).

2018-19 records: 12-14 overall (8-6 NAC).

Roster: Jeanna Manning (Sr. G), Autum Kunes (Fr. G), Joie Culkin (Fr. F), Autumn Watkins (So. F), Madison Seguin (Jr. G), Shannyn St. Andrews (Fr. F), Billie Rivenburgh (Jr. F), Jasmine Dickson (Jr. F), Emily Pentz (Sr. G).

SUNY Potsdam Bears

Coach: Brittany Cohen (fourth year).

2018-19 records: 8-16 overall (5-13 SUNYAC).

Roster: Dyamon Hunter (So. G), Bella Barner (Fr. G), Carly Shear (Jr. G), Jakia Howard (Fr. F), Emma Bell (Fr. G), Tsai Lewis (Fr. G), Patience Riley (Fr. G), Devyn Elliott (So. F), Nicole Bullock (Fr. G), Katelyn Flanagan (So. G), Caroline LaFountain (Fr. G), Lauren Martin (So. G), Madison Soroka (Fr. G), Alexis Davis (So. F), Naya Walters (Jr. C), Deja Hall (Fr. F).

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


Have been with the WDT since the last week of December in 1993. Cover Clarkson and SLU men's and women's hockey, as well as other sports at those schools and SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton. Also cover Northern Athletic Conference high school sports

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