As the spring AAU season comes to a close a number of players in the class of 2007 are emerging as high-major prospects. One player is James Hickson, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound power forward from Southwest Atlanta (Ga.) Christian Academy. Playing for the Worldwide Renegades at the Tournament of Champions, the big man squared off with one of the top players of the class of 2006 and did well in the one on one match-up.
Matched up against Derrick Caracter, a five-star prospect in the 2006 class, Hickson had a solid 16 point, 11 rebound effort. After missing an opportunity to play each other at the Real Deal on the Hill, Hickson said he's been preparing for a chance to play Caracter whenever the opportunity presented itself.
"I'm working on being more consistent and I think that showed when I played him," Hickson said. "I was physical with him. I was able to use my quickness by going to the hole and knocking down that face up jumper on him. I feel like I did pretty good."
Even with a strong performance at the TOC and the Real Deal on the Hill, Hickson said he still doesn't feel like he's being noticed by people.
"I feel like I'm still under the radar," Hickson said. "I've had a couple of good games against some of the best players in the country but I'm still hungry. I want to do more."
Funny thing is, though, people have noticed. People at Florida State, Clemson, Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Auburn have noticed. Hickson told Rivals.com National Scout Jerry Meyer that Auburn, Clemson and Georgia have all offered. Hickson said he isn't too concerned with the recruiting process right now, though.
One of Hickson's biggest fans is Javaris Crittenton, his teammate at Southwest Atlanta Christian.
"He's becoming a beast," Crittenton said. "Early in the season he started kind of slow and was lazy on some plays but I told him that I needed him to roll with me if we wanted to win. He pushed himself in practice and worked really hard and being the best he could be. At first he didn't have that beast demeanor. He does now."
"It's all up in the air right now. I'm just looking around and seeing who is serious."
Hickson will be back in action this weekend at the Pangos All-American camp in SoCal. Hickson is amongst the 100 or so players that will file into the SCBA Center gym in Cypress, Calif.
"I'm excited to go out there and do what I do. I want to show that I can rebound and block shots and do what a big man is supposed to do. I can bang with the best of them," Hickson said. "I know what I can do. I'm not going to back down to anyone."