STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Mike Rhoades landed a significant piece of his new-look Penn State Nittany Lions on Thursday. After officially bringing in several transfers from his VCU roster last week, Penn State basketball received a commitment from Zach Hicks via the transfer portal. Hicks, a former top 10 New Jersey recruit and Temple Owl, will bring size and length to Happy Valley and will undoubtedly factor into the rotation next season.
Penn State lands former top 10 New Jersey recruit Zach Hicks from transfer portal
Zach Hicks is a 6-7, 185-pound forward out of Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The former three-star recruit was the ninth-best player in New Jersey and a top 300 prospect in the class of 2021, as rated by 247Sports. Hicks committed to Temple in 2020, where he averaged 8.3 points and 4.1 rebounds a game as a freshman in 2021. Last year in his sophomore season, Hicks averaged nearly 10 points and five boards while on the court for over 32 minutes per game for the Owls.
After entering the portal in March, Hicks’s recruitment heated up with three schools — Penn State, Georgetown, and UTEP — while he also considered staying at Temple. Hicks visited with Mike Rhoades’s staff in Happy Valley on April 7 and 8.
Within the last day, it became clear that Hicks was trending toward Penn State. Earlier this week, Hick’s father told Temple’s 247Sports affiliate that either Temple or UTEP were his parents’ top choices. But yesterday, On3 reported that the buzz around Hicks was moving in Mike Rhoades’s and Penn State’s favor. On Thursday afternoon, Jon Rothstein was the first to break the news on College Hoops Today.
“The main thing with Penn State was my connection with the coaches,” Hicks told Rothstein. “The environment was away from things in its own little world. There’s no distractions. I can just go there and play basketball.”
With Hicks’s commitment, Mike Rhoades has just knocked over a major domino in his young tenure at Penn State. While he has been able to retain Jameel Brown, Kanye Clary, and Demetrius Lilley from Micah Shrewsberry’s roster and add Ace Baldwin and Nick Kern, Mike Rhoades had not brought anyone in from outside Penn State or VCU yet. Securing Hicks shows that Rhoades’s message for the new-look Nittany Lions is hitting home with players outside his coaching reach.
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