Gunning for title: Decatur grad Hicks makes history at Tech

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, April 3, 2019
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Guns Up

GUNS UP – Texas Tech’s Parker Hicks (20) celebrates with teammates and coaches after the Red Raiders beat Michigan in the Sweet 16. Hicks and the Red Raiders beat Gonzaga Saturday to secure a spot in the Final Four. Photo courtesy Bradley Tollefson, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Basketball has always been a way of life in the Hicks household.

The sport has been the bedrock of the family since Larry and Donnette’s oldest son, Parker, could handle a ball. The Decatur grad quickly developed an affinity for the game, working his way to a preferred walk-on spot at Texas Tech.

He had offers to go elsewhere and play immediately, but Parker chose the Red Raiders, even if it meant spending more time on the bench than he would like.

Last Saturday against Gonzaga, Parker’s patience finally paid off.

The Red Raiders took down the top-seeded Bulldogs 75-69, punching their first ticket to the Final Four. As the bench erupted and rushed onto the court, Parker was in the center of it all, living out a dream.

“Making the Final Four means everything to me and my family,” Parker said. “After getting to witness [my brother] Wilson and my dad make the state tournament for the first time ever, I was jealous. Now after making the Final Four, I think we can call it even.”

Strong Backing

STRONG BACKING – Parker Hicks (center) has had plenty of support from his family brother Wilson, parents Larry and Donnette and brother Larrison during Texas Tech’s run to the Final Four this March. Submitted photo

Texas Tech took down Northern Kentucky, Buffalo and Michigan en route to the Final Four. The Red Raiders will meet Michigan State at 7:49 p.m. Saturday in Minneapolis, and the entire Hicks clan will be in attendance.

“We wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Larry said. “I’m extremely proud. He could have gone and played at some smaller college that wasn’t a major DI school and probably gotten more playing time. But he has always met challenges head on.

“If someone is going to tell him he can’t do something, he’s going to show them that he can. When he decided to go the harder route to Tech, it didn’t surprise us at all. The opportunities and experiences he’s having, we’re thrilled to death for him.”

Parker averaged a double-double his senior season with Decatur, posting 31.3 points and 10.2 rebounds. He shot 58 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc, leading the Eagles to the third round of the playoffs.

Decatur’s coach, Drew Coffman, played at Texas Tech under Bob Knight from 2003-2006. The former Red Raider said Parker’s knack for making people around him better has been on display in Lubbock since he got there.

“I’m very proud of Parker,” Coffman said. “He’s a kid that came from a small town but had a big dream and has resiliently chased after it. I truly believe he has had a lot to do with Tech’s success the past two years.”

Parker’s tireless work ethic is a trait that has not gone unnoticed, especially by his family.

“Parker has literally grown up in the gym, either watching or playing basketball his entire life,” Donnette said. “Watching him continue to work hard and maintain his love of the game is very rewarding. I couldn’t be happier and more proud for him. We are his No. 1 fan club.”

Wilson, now a senior at Decatur and committed to Oklahoma State in baseball, has never been to a Final Four. He, along with his mom, dad and younger brother, Larrison, will fly to Minneapolis Saturday morning to watch Parker and the Red Raiders try to make history.

“As little kids, growing up and watching the Final Four, it’s what you dream about,” Wilson said. [Parker] is going to go play in one. I know having the family there supporting him, he’s going to have a lot of fun.”

For Parker, this experience would not be possible without the unconditional support he has received from Decatur and his family.

He thanked his grandparents, brothers, and parents for making countless trips to watch him play and always being there for him.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my family,” Parker said. “From putting a basketball in my hands, from dad teaching me the ways and yelling at me so much in elementary that I threatened to quit, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without him.

“There are 1,000 things I wish I could say to the people back in Decatur, but the biggest thing would be ‘This year isn’t just for me and my family; it’s for the entire city of Decatur and all the people in it.'”

As for the rest of the Hicks family, Larry said they have booked three nights in Minneapolis, with every intention of watching Texas Tech cut down the nets on Monday.

“We are preparing for Monday’s [national championship],” Larry said. “We’re coming back on Tuesday and are going to go watch that final game and watch the Red Raiders win it all.”

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