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Unusual sports scholarship

Hicks receives managing opportunity from Ohio State, works with university on what could be a bright future

BUCKEYE+FOR+A+DAY%3A+Tyler+Hicks+%28right%29+visits+The+Ohio+State+University+during+a+home+game+and+sits+front+row%2C+courtesy+of+assistant+coach+Mike+Schrage.+He+invited+Hicks+in+hopes+that+Hicks+would+decide+to+spend+his+next+four+years+there.
BUCKEYE FOR A DAY: Tyler Hicks (right) visits The Ohio State University during a home game and sits front row, courtesy of assistant coach Mike Schrage. He invited Hicks in hopes that Hicks would decide to spend his next four years there.

BUCKEYE FOR A DAY: Tyler Hicks (right) visits The Ohio State University during a home game and sits front row, courtesy of assistant coach Mike Schrage. He invited Hicks in hopes that Hicks would decide to spend his next four years there.

Photo by Submitted

Photo by Submitted

BUCKEYE FOR A DAY: Tyler Hicks (right) visits The Ohio State University during a home game and sits front row, courtesy of assistant coach Mike Schrage. He invited Hicks in hopes that Hicks would decide to spend his next four years there.

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Senior Tyler Hicks became a student assistant for the boys’ basketball team during his junior year. Despite what seemed to be a late start to the program, Hicks formed experience from managing freshman football, operating his own Butler twitter account with over 1700 followers, and doing some work on different Butler basketball websites.

“My sophomore year, Coach [Michael] Wantz asked me if I was interested in being a student assistant for the basketball team,” Hicks said. “I couldn’t that year because I was still playing club and school volleyball, [but] I decided that’s what I wanted to do junior year.”

Hicks decided he did not want to play basketball during his time at Roncalli, because he decided he would not be athletic enough to continue to play basketball. Continuing his love for sports, Hicks tried out for volleyball as an underclassman and loved playing for the Rebels before becoming a student assistant.

“[Basketball is] my favorite sport though, so I wanted to stay involved with it,” Hicks said. “My role with the team has allowed for me to do so.”

Ever since Hicks was a kid, he has always loved watching and playing sports. He seemed to always need to be involved with them any way he could. His love for the competition and thrill only grew more over time.

“Growing up, I had SportsCenter or some game on just about anytime I was in front of a TV,” Hicks said. “Sports have always been my first love. I played soccer, football, basketball, baseball and volleyball at various times and really enjoyed them all.”

Recently, the basketball coaching staff at The Ohio State University has gotten in contact with Hicks and have expressed interest in having him become a manager for its team.

“Originally, I was planning on attending Butler and working for [the coaches] there,” Hicks said. “Since they moved [to Ohio State], they’ve always made it clear that they’d love to have me join them in Columbus.”

Being a Butler fan all of his life, Hicks was lucky enough to have grown close with the coaching staff at Butler. This past summer, most of the Butler coaching staff relocated to Columbus to help the Buckeyes when Chris Holtmann, the former Butler head coach, moved to The Ohio State University as head coach along with assistants Ryan Pedon, Terry Johnson, and Mike Schrage.

“The night the rumors began that they were going to Ohio State, one of the coaches, Coach Schrage, actually called me personally at about 12:30 a.m. to tell me the news,” Hicks said. “That’s stuck with me a lot.”

As a student assistant for the boys’ basketball team at Roncalli, Hicks was expected to be at practice each day, get uniforms put away or ready for a game, get video for games, run the scoreboard at practice, step in for various drills when needed, track stats and keep the team hydrated with the water. Sometimes, the task was as simple as retrieving a Pepsi for Coach John Hasty or Wantz.

“[Hicks] was excellent and helped us tremendously with our stats and anything else the coaches needed a hand with,” Wantz said. “[He] went above and beyond what I thought he would do. He did a great job and, more often than not, already knew what I was going to ask him for and had it ready.”

If he accepts the offer from Ohio State, Hicks would have responsibilities on and off the court. Hicks expects to be involved with recruiting, video promotions and whatever else the coaches ask of him.   

“It’d essentially be a four-year apprenticeship with some of the best coaches in the country,” Hicks said.

Ohio State has already offered him some amazing opportunities, including meeting full coaching staff, watching private workouts, including one with Big Ten player of the year Keita Bates-Diop, and sitting front row at both a Buckeye football and basketball game.

“In the fall, my mom and I went out there to visit, and they gave us a private tour of the basketball facilities, and [Schrage] met and talked with us for about a half-hour and told us what is great about Ohio State,” Hicks said.

Being a part of two great, winning seasons at Roncalli and a National Merit Finalist, Hicks has learned a lot from those experiences and hopes to learn even more from this new opportunity.

“Hopefully, I can go to Columbus and keep experiencing fun, winning seasons like I’ve been able to do at Roncalli,” Hicks said.

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