Tony Hicks is a 26 year old 186cm guard from Chicago, Illinois that completed his third professional season and second with the Rostock Seawolves averaging 11.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 19.6%, FT: 77.9%. In his first season with Rostock he averaged 14.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.2apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.8%, 3PT: 30.7%, FT: 79.7%. In is rookie season he played with he played with the Surrey Scorchers (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 35 games: Score-2 (19.4ppg), 3.5rpg, 5.7apg, Steals-4 (1.8spg), FGP-2 (62.0%), 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 81.5%. He began his basketball career at St. Rita High School and in 2012-2013 played at Pennsylvania (NCAA) playing 30 games averaging 10.4ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 40.5%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 81.1%. In his second season at Pennsylvania (NCAA) he played 27 games averaging 14.9ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 76.4%. In his junior season at Pennsylvania (NCAA) he played 26 games averaging 13.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 42.5%, 3PT: 37.1%, FT: 77.7%. He transferred to Louisville (NCAA) in 2015 and sat out due to NCAA transfer rules and played his senior year there playing 23 games averaging 3.7ppg, 1.0rpg. He has led Rostock to a 2-1 record and is currently the top guard in the Pro A averaging 22,7, 5,7rpg and 6,3apg. He spoke to germanhoops.com early during the Coronavirus crisis.
Hi Tony where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?
I’m currently in Louisville, KY. Overall I am okay just trying to social distance as much as possible so we can get back to regular life.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
I honestly did not think Coronavirus would have this large of a global impact. When the NBA shut down. I knew it was very serious
How did you experience the day to day life in Rostock when you were still in Germany? What things did you notice in the surroundings there that showed that life wasn’t normal?
I treated everything as normal. To the gym, get food, and back home relaxing. I began to notice all toilet paper and paper towels gone in the supermarkets though.
Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing
Yes of course. I would just stay home. And whenever we had fans come by I would just give a fist bump. I’m the guy who always has hand sanitizer no matter the situation.
Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Pro A. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
Very disappointed for many reasons. I came 9 games into the season and still don’t feel I had an entire year. As well as having 5 games left and a very realistic chance at the playoffs is upsetting.
Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?
I think it depends player to player. Some guys absolutely need fans to feed off of their energy to get themselves going or for an extra boost. But for me, it would be okay. Just somewhat like a closed scrimmage setting.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
You cannot take anything for granted. Life can hit anyone with any curveballs, pain is universal.
Wil it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?
I don’t look at it as a huge adjustment. Just more time to improve on my game. I’m excited for the extra time to lock into my own weaknesses and getting my strengths even stronger.
The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?
I think every Athlete right now is a bit worried. I think it will for sure be tougher for everyone. But more so rookies who normally get the last pick unless you are a huge name. I think myself personally will be fine coming out of this. I put my trust in my agency and just worry about improving as much as I can over the summer.
If you had to name another player besides guys from Rostock that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?
I speak to Chris Carter and Terrell Harris from Chemnitz almost weekly..
How has the day to day life been now in the States with the outbreak of the Coronavirus? Have you noticed any differences and are there any differences between the Americans and German people on how they are coping and handling themselves?
I think my time in Germany people were more relaxed and not so worried about Coronavirus than in the states. However, this could be because when I was in Germany the rules implemented were not as serious at the time as now.
How has your approach to family changed since the outbreak of Corona? What things have you seen yourself do that you may not have done before?
Has not changed much. I love my family and speak to them almost daily as well. Have not seen my grandmother because of her age. But everything else is normal.
Let’s talk about the season with the Rostock Seawolves. How unsatisfying is it having to end the season and not knowing what the fate of the team would have been? The club was 12-15 in 12th place and between 6-13 in the standings were only two wins the difference.
Very disappointing for all of us. We know we were still very capable of getting into the playoffs and now we will never know. It was very important since I have been to the playoffs every season in my pro career.
How vital was it losing 6 of your first 7 games of the season for the final record of 12-15? Why was the start so weak and what was crucial after that to finish the season at 11-9?
I cannot speak as to why the start was not as expected because I was still in the states rehabbing. But I will say when I arrived we always tried to play the right way and we eventually began to get things going in the right direction.
What is your final summary of the season? The playoffs were still within reach. What will you remember most from this season?
Unfortunately Coronavirus is the main memory. Every possible ending to the season has an asterisk next to it because there were so many teams fighting for the playoffs.
The team did a good job in crunch-time winning some emotional tight games. Did the exciting 91-90 win over Ehingen in the last game give some positive closure to the season?
To be honest, it was not positive closure when to take into account our own expectations as a team. We would take the win because we needed all wins for playoff contention, but we did not play our best basketball vs. Ehingen.
Talk a little about your personal experience with head coach Dirk Bauermann. How challenging was it working for him and what will you never forget from having had the chance to work with him?
Coach Bauermann is a great coach and person. Very fun and very challenging to play for. Our relationship was great and through meeting him and conversation I am honored to believe that we have some of the same values in our approach to getting better and the game overall.
Let’s talk about your teammates. American Zack Lofton played only 4 games, but exploded averaging 30 points per game. Obviously a flat out scorer, but what was significant about his scoring talents that set him apart from everyone else in the Pro A?
I knew Zack before Rostock and what he was capable of so I was very excited to have him join the club. He helped me raise my game, and I think we both learned a lot from each other on and off the court. I would just say he is a very skilled player. He will be back on an NBA roster very soon. We all as athletes are trying to be our best selves and play at the highest level possible.
With Donte Nicholas the club had a very talented player How will you always remember him as a player when you look back in 5 years and think about the Rostock season?
Donte is a veteran who can do many things on the court at high level. I think we all will look back at what could have been had the season concluded.
The club had many talented Germans. If you had to pick one player that improved the most who would it be?
Tom Alte playing with him for 2 years I do see improvement. He is a guy for any guard you love to play with.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 11.4ppg, 3.3rpg, 3.6apg, FGP: 48.9%, 3PT: 19.6%, FT: 77.9%. Was coming in late into the season a tough adjustment for you at first
I would say it was the opposite of an adjustment. I knew the coaches, the system, and the league so I think the main adjusting was with my teammates.
Your stats weren’t as good as last season, but does the fact that the team was able to turn it around after you arrived something that will give you closure for still a solid season?
If you speak with any coach at high levels they will tell you that for a PG. The wins and losses are more important than stats. But overall stats wise there was not much drop off and that can give me some closure sure.
You are a magnificent defender and don’t always get the credit that you deserve. How do you feel did defensive specialist Dirk Bauermann help you make another step on the defensive end?
Coach Bauermann would always speak to me how he thinks I can be the best defender in Germany. I think more than anything he gave me more confidence and enthusiasm to show my defensive abilities.
Was your 20 points effort in the very exciting 71-68 victory over Kirchheim one of your most memorable games this season?
The Kirchheim game was a very memorable game because I made some big plays down the stretch and scored points. But I would say beating Bremerhaven at home was more memorable for the team beating the 2nd place team and almost controlling the whole game. Especially this being one of my first starts, I think it gave the team more confidence and feeling of something different than the start of the season.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Pro A this season?
Chris Carter and Terrell Harris
Luka Doncic had an amazing sophomore campaign. Is he a top 3 NBA player now?
Top 3 player no, but he is top 3 at his position right now in my opinion.
Where were you when you heard about the death of Kobe Bryant. You were 12 years old when he began in the NBA. What kind of influence did he have on you during adolescence?
I was at home in Rostock and I just could not believe it. Kobe was everything to me growing up. His approach, demeanor, and will to win was something that I will always idolize. Him and Allen Iverson are the reasons I decided to pick up a basketball.
How bitter is it that the NCAA March Madness has been canceled? This tournament for some kids is the greatest time of their lives. What advice would you give that senior who worked hard for 4 years and would have had his one and only chance now?
It sucks that lots of younger players have had their possible dreams snatched away. However sometimes you have no control over situations. I would just tell that senior that everything happens for a reason and God makes no mistakes. You will always reap the benefits of the hard work you put in.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Tony for the chat.