Sycamore Basketball Legends: #5 Carl Nicks

Jason Svoboda

The Bird Level
Administrator
In 1976, a speedy, yet very raw point guard arrived to Terre Haute from the mean streets of Chicago to play basketball for Coach Bob King and his Indiana State Sycamores. That player was none other than our #5 Sycamore Basketball Legend, Carl Hicks.

The beginning of his career at Indiana State is probably not at all how Nicks envisioned it. After his freshman season that saw him average only 2.2 points in 24 games, Bob King recommended that Nicks step away from the Sycamores and head to junior college to refine his skills and work on his game. Carl followed Hill's advice and spent the 1977-78 season at Gulf County Community College in Panama City, Florida, where he worked on his game and led the Commodores with a 22.4 point per game average.

Upon returning to Indiana State, Nicks was now a more mature, confident player and quickly earned the nickname, Mr. Intensity. The rest, as they say, is history. In just two full seasons as a starter with the Sycamores, Nicks stood along Larry Bird in 1978-79 and helped lead Indiana State to the championship game in the NCAA tournament by averaging 19.3ppg, 5apg, 3.5rpg and 1.8spg on 46% shooting. After Bird bolted for the NBA, Nicks took over the reigns as a senior and led Indiana State in scoring with a 26.7ppg average on 44% shooting. Before leaving for the NBA himself, Nicks finished up with 1,432 career points scored, which puts him tied with Duane Klueh for seventh all-time.

Nicks was twice named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, in both 1979 and 1980. He was also named to the NCAA All-American team in 1980. In 2007, Nicks was recognized by the Missouri Valley Conference as one of the Missouri Valley Conference's "50 Greatest" Players and was inducted into the Indiana State University Hall of Fame in 2007.

CAREER STATISTICS
<TABLE style="WIDTH: 276pt; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=368 border=0 x:str><COLGROUP><COL style="WIDTH: 48pt" width=64><COL style="WIDTH: 27pt; mso-width-source: userset; mso-width-alt: 1316" width=36><COL style="WIDTH: 57pt; mso-width-source: userset; mso-width-alt: 2779" width=76><COL style="WIDTH: 48pt" span=3 width=64><TBODY><TR style="HEIGHT: 12.75pt" height=17><TD class=xl24 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; WIDTH: 48pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; HEIGHT: 12.75pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" width=64 height=17>YEAR</TD><TD class=xl36 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; WIDTH: 27pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" width=36>GP</TD><TD class=xl25 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; WIDTH: 57pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" width=76>FG-FGA</TD><TD class=xl25 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; WIDTH: 48pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" width=64>PCT.</TD><TD class=xl25 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; WIDTH: 48pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" width=64>TP</TD><TD class=xl25 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; WIDTH: 48pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" width=64>AVG</TD></TR><TR style="HEIGHT: 12.75pt" height=17><TD class=xl26 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; HEIGHT: 12.75pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" height=17>1976-77</TD><TD class=xl37 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>24</TD><TD class=xl27 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent">20-54</TD><TD class=xl28 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>0.370</TD><TD class=xl27 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>53</TD><TD class=xl27 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>2.2</TD></TR><TR style="HEIGHT: 12.75pt" height=17><TD class=xl26 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; HEIGHT: 12.75pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" height=17>1978-79</TD><TD class=xl37 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>34</TD><TD class=xl27 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent">267-576</TD><TD class=xl28 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num="0.46300000000000002">0.463</TD><TD class=xl27 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>656</TD><TD class=xl27 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>19.3</TD></TR><TR style="HEIGHT: 12.75pt" height=17><TD class=xl29 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; HEIGHT: 12.75pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" height=17>1979-80</TD><TD class=xl38 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>27</TD><TD class=xl30 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent">267-605</TD><TD class=xl31 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num="0.441">0.441</TD><TD class=xl30 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>723</TD><TD class=xl30 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: windowtext 0.5pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num>26.7</TD></TR><TR style="HEIGHT: 12.75pt" height=17><TD class=xl32 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; HEIGHT: 12.75pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" height=17>TOTALS</TD><TD class=xl39 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num x:fmla="=SUM(B2:B4)">85</TD><TD class=xl33 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent">554-1235</TD><TD class=xl34 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num="0.44900000000000001">0.449</TD><TD class=xl33 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num x:fmla="=SUM(E2:E4)">1432</TD><TD class=xl35 style="BORDER-RIGHT: #ece9d8; BORDER-TOP: #ece9d8; BORDER-LEFT: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM: #ece9d8; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" x:num="16.847058823529412" x:fmla="=E5/B5">16.8</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
PROFESSIONAL CAREER
After graduating from Indiana State in 1980, Nicks took his talents to the next level when he was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 23rd pick in the 1980 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, Carl's career in the NBA didn't mirror that of his State days as he played for three different teams (Denver, Utah Jazz and the Cleveland Cavaliers) in three seasons. He also played in the Continental Basketball Association and professionally in Europe before retiring as a player.

Nicks finished with NBA career averages of 6.8ppg, 1.6apg and 0.8spg over those three seasons and currently holds the distinction of being the last Sycamore player drafted.

LIFE AFTER BASKETBALL
After retiring from playing basketball, Nicks didn't wander too far away from the court when he landed on the bench. Nicks took up coaching and was an assistant to former ISU Coach Bill Hodges at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, before moving back to Indianapolis in 1998. He was a coach in the Pike Township system and ran a program for at-risk teenagers for Methodist Hospital.

In 2006, Nicks rejoined former Sycamore teammate and current Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird when he replaced George Felton, who was hired as the Spurs' Director of College Player Personnel. He still serves as a scout in the Pacers organization.
 

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Jason Svoboda

The Bird Level
Administrator
I hope everyone will enjoy this little series I'm doing of the top five Sycamore Basketball Legends. This, of course, is strictly my opinion and hopefully will spark some debate. Enjoy!
 
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