After decommitting from Kentucky, 2021 four-star point guard and Sammamish, Washington native Nolan Hickman Jr. has decided to play for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
No wonder they say my game dawg like pic.twitter.com/nASWpoWPOf— Nolan hickman (@Nolanhickman2) May 15, 2021
Hickman is the top-rated player out of Utah and ranked No. 29 overall by the 247 Sports composite score. Hickman transferred from Eastside Catholic High School in Bellevue to Wasatch Academy in Utah last summer to be able to play a senior year of college basketball. He averaged 16 points per game this past season and was named a McDonald’s All-American.
Although it feels delightful to snag a recruit from Kentucky, there is sure to be a bit of worrying from the Gonzaga-crowd about going after a player who decommitted. Rest easy! As A Sea of Blue explains, one major reason for Hickman’s decommitment was Tony Barbee, his lead recruiter, departing for a head coaching position at Central Michigan.
Wasatch Academy (Utah) head coach Paul Peterson revealed that Barbee leaving to become a head coach at Central Michigan had a big impact on Hickman.
“One of the reasonings that I know for sure is that the coach who recruited him hard (Barbee) took a head coaching job,” Peterson told the Herald-Leader. “I think that one hit him pretty hard.”
It will be interesting to see where and how Hickman fits into Mark Few’s plans immediately for next season. Presuming Andrew Nembhard does not go anywhere (and that seems to be the indication), the Zags backcourt also consists of five-star recruit Hunter Sallis, rising sophomore Dominick Harris, and new graduate transfer Rasir Bolton. There are probably still minutes to be had for Hickman, but it is just a question of how many.
Hickman’s arrival helps make Gonzaga’s recruiting Class of 2021 the best in school history. In addition, the Zags have landed No. 1 Chet Holmgren, No. 7 Sallis, and No. 52 Kaden Perry.