Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports

NBA draft profile: North Carolina power forward Isaiah Hicks

Olivia Healy
June 15, 2017 - 3:19 pm

As part of WEEI.com's coverage of the 2017 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed four picks: 1, 37, 53, and 56. The draft will be held June 22 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

Name: Isaiah Hicks

Position: Power forward

Hometown: Oxford, N.C.

College: North Carolina

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 240 pounds

Key 2016-17 stats: 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and a 57.5 percent field goal percentage.

Scouting Report: Hicks was the ACC sixth-man of the year for the 2016-17 season. His stat line consistently improved throughout his four years at UNC. From his junior to senior year he improved his averages from 8.9 to 11.8 points, 4.6 to 5.5 rebounds and 0.7 to 1.4 assists per game.

In the win against Gonzaga for the national championship, Hicks went 5-for-9 from the field, scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds. He is the type of player that slows the game down to his pace and is strong with every move. His range extends to the three-point line, but he excels at taking bigger and slower players off the dribble. The explosiveness and quickness of his first step is what makes him such an intriguing player going into the draft. He is a byproduct of the Carolina system as he runs the floor extremely well for his size, and has high court awareness. Hicks was a matchup nightmare against other forwards at the college level, but it is uncertain how his game will transition the NBA. 

Defensively, Hicks has some work to do. From time-to-time he found himself on the bench due to foul trouble, and fouled out five times during the 2016-17 season. In order to get playing time at the next level, he can't afford to commit fouls on a regular basis. 

“They are fringe NBA players,” ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla said of Hicks and his North Carolina teammate Kennedy Meeks, according The Herald Sun. “Their size and athleticism and the way the NBA is played nowadays with the speed of the game, it doesn’t cater to their strengths. They’re both below-the-rim, undersized big men, each capable of making a roster, but what we would call a fringe roster guy.”

December 31, 1969 - 7:00 pm

In a mock draft created by NBAdraft.net, Hicks is predicted to go 56th, which is the Celtics pick. The Celtics could always use an athletic big man to be a spark off the bench and pull down rebounds. With question marks surrounding the return of Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko, Gerald Green and James Young, there is the potential to put an explosive undersized big man on the roster. 

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