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November 21, 2007

Hickson makes history in ACC debut

J.J. Hickson, G, NC State

No one in ACC history had scored 30 points in his first game as a freshman.

Not Michael Jordan. Not Ralph Sampson. Not Tyler Hansbrough. Not Kenny Anderson.

J.J. Hickson announced his arrival with authority. Hickson, a five-star power forward ranked the No. 10 player in the class of 2007 by Rivals.com, scored 31 points and made all 12 of his field-goal attempts in his debut as NC State crushed William & Mary 66-47.

He followed up with a double-double, going for 22 points and 13 rebounds in a 65-63 upset loss to New Orleans. For his efforts, Hickson is Rivals.com's National Freshman of the Week for the week ending Nov. 18.

"First off, it was good just to get out on the court," Hickson said. "We had nine days off since our last exhibition game, and it seemed we were one of the last teams to finally tip off the season.

"Both games my teammates did an excellent job of getting me the ball down low in exactly the right spots where it was easy for me to adjust and get off a good shot."

At 6 feet 9 and 242 pounds, Hickson is a load on the block. He works hard to get good position, and he knows what to do with the ball when he has it.

He was 10 of 18 from the floor against the Privateers, making him 22 of 30 (73.3 percent) through two games. He also had three blocks against UNO.

"I tried to be a presence down low blocking shots, and also was focused on being tougher on the boards and getting more rebounds," he said. "It's always good to score, but for us to win games we have to play solid defense and win the battle on the boards."

OTHER NOMINEES FOR FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK:

F Donte Greene, Syracuse
He has gotten better with each outing, including 18 points and eight rebounds against Saint Joseph's followed by 24 and nine against Fordham last week.


G Derrick Rose, Memphis
Rose averaged 20.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic semifinals and final, victories over Oklahoma and Connecticut.




Jon Brockman
Forward
Washington



He led the Huskies to three victories by averaging 23 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, including a 31-point, 18-rebound performance against Utah. For the week, Brockman shot 56 percent from the field.

Brockman staged a bruising battle with Utes 7-foot center Luke Nevill. Using a quick release and his ability to step outside and face up, he got the better of the matchup as the Huskies won 83-77. Brockman was 11 of 23 from the floor and 9-for-11 from the line.

He followed up the Utah victory with 26 points and eight rebounds in an 82-68 triumph over Eastern Washington.

OTHER NOMINEES:

G Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
The Tigers won the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic behind his 33-point outburst against UConn in the final.


G Sean Singletary, Virginia
He followed up a 23-point, eight-assist effort against Howard with 24 points and eight assists in an upset at No. 17 Arizona.


G A.J. Price, Connecticut
Price averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the semifinals and final of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic. He also shot 58.3 percent (14 of 24) from the floor.


F Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
One of the preseason favorites for national player of the year started strong with 14 points and 14 rebounds against Davidson and 27 and nine against Iona.



A.J. Graves
Guard
Butler



Graves averaged 24 points in wins over intrastate rivals Indiana State and Evansville. He was 11 of 19 from 3-point range.

Nothing tastes better in Indiana than beating fellow state teams on the court. The Sycamores gave the Bulldogs their first loss last year and had won the previous three meetings, but Butler exacted revenge behind Graves' 26 points and three steals.

Butler won 76-48, its largest victory margin in the series since the 1959-60 season.

OTHER NOMINEES:

G Robert McKiver, Houston
He averaged 23.7 points as the Cougars went 2-1. He dropped 37 points on College of Charleston, shooting 12 of 25, including 9-for-20 from 3-point range.


G Stefon Jackson, UTEP
Jackson averaged 23.7 points and 4.3 rebounds as the Miners went 2-1 last week. He had back-to-back 27-point games, one in a loss to No. 15 Texas A&M.


G Tony Lee, Robert Morris
Lee nearly averaged a triple-double for the week with 15.5 points, 10 assists and 8.0 rebounds as the Colonials swamped Navy and lost in overtime to Seton Hall.

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.



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