Thursday, November 24, 2016

Hokies' Hicks hoopin' like crazy

Who's been the best player among the Division I performers in Virginia on the young season so far?

Our vote goes to Virginia Tech's dramatically improved Chanette Hicks, and, with all due respect to the state's other top ballers, it's not even all that close.

Consider that, through five games, the Hokies' sophomore point guard ranks third among Virginia D-I players in points per game (17.8) and is also third in field goal percentage (51.7). Now, 50 percent shooting from any player is noteworthy. Fifty percent-plus from a high-scoring point guard is ridiculous.

Last year, Hicks averaged 8.6 points on 42.4 percent shooting.

The former Maury High School star announced herself as a prime-time scorer by dropping a career-high 24 points on UNC Asheville in Tech's season opener. And on Tuesday, she went for 22 points - 10 in the pivotal third quarter - as the Hokies held off the College of Charleston. Coming into the season, Hicks' career high was 19 points.

And she's producing points in a variety of ways. Hicks ranks sixth in Division I in getting to the free throw line, where she's converting at a 70.3 percent chip (Hicks shot 53.8 percent from the stripe last season). And after going just 1-for-7 from 3-point range a year ago, Hicks has made 3 of 8 shots from deep through five games in 2016-17.

Scoring is just part of the package, though. Hicks has also dished out 19 assists (3.8 apg) against just 12 turnovers. The Hokies' star has also embellished her college reputation as a master thief by racking up 20 steals, second among all Division I players through Nov. 23. As a freshman, Hicks set the Hokies' single-season record for steals with 91.

Again, the season is just getting started. And it's fair to point out that to date Virginia Tech hasn't exactly faced a murderer's row of competition.

But Hicks didn't make the Hokies' schedule.

All she's done is ball.

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