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November 21, 2007
No one in ACC history had scored 30 points in his first game as a freshman.
Not Michael Jordan. Not Ralph Sampson. Not Tyler Hansbrough. Not Kenny Anderson.
J.J. Hickson announced his arrival with authority. Hickson, a five-star power forward ranked the No. 10 player in the class of 2007 by Rivals.com, scored 31 points and made all 12 of his field-goal attempts in his debut as NC State crushed William & Mary 66-47.
He followed up with a double-double, going for 22 points and 13 rebounds in a 65-63 upset loss to New Orleans. For his efforts, Hickson is Rivals.com's National Freshman of the Week for the week ending Nov. 18.
"First off, it was good just to get out on the court," Hickson said. "We had nine days off since our last exhibition game, and it seemed we were one of the last teams to finally tip off the season.
"Both games my teammates did an excellent job of getting me the ball down low in exactly the right spots where it was easy for me to adjust and get off a good shot."
At 6 feet 9 and 242 pounds, Hickson is a load on the block. He works hard to get good position, and he knows what to do with the ball when he has it.
He was 10 of 18 from the floor against the Privateers, making him 22 of 30 (73.3 percent) through two games. He also had three blocks against UNO.
"I tried to be a presence down low blocking shots, and also was focused on being tougher on the boards and getting more rebounds," he said. "It's always good to score, but for us to win games we have to play solid defense and win the battle on the boards."
OTHER NOMINEES FOR FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK:
F Donte Greene, Syracuse
G Derrick Rose, Memphis
Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.