When Derrick Hickman was hired as the University Heights Academy girls basketball coach May 10, he could have easily gone right into preparing his team for the 2019-20 season, but that's not the way Hickman does things.

Instead, he put together the Lady Blazers Basketball Camp with the help of a few of his assistants and current players, and hosted the camp just weeks into his tenure.

He said it was important to have the camp and not just push it aside.

"I wanted to put on this camp for the community," he said. "These girls in the community need to see growth. I want to let them know there's more than basketball."

Staff is important for any head coach, and Hickman is no different as he's got two former players on his staff in Sammie Miles and former Kentucky Wildcat Lydia Watkins.

Hickman also brought four current players to help out as he wanted to give his campers someone else to relate to.

"Girls who played on our team, they came out and taught the girls about behavior, how school is important, how to juggle them both," he said. "It was important for them to see them."

Some of the campers that attended already had a connection with Hickman that they may not have known, as he coached some of their parents during his coaching career.

"I've been doing this for a long time," he said. "I had several of the girls' parents. It was good seeing them. I got a relationship with them and a relationship with the community."

Hickman said he wanted the girls who attended the camp to know that there's more to life than just basketball.

"It's good when the girls see girls who played before them being successful," he said. "All the girls that I coached, they're successful. They've got college degrees and they're being productive; that's the key."

This isn't Hickman's first go-around at UHA. He's been on the staff before, including last season under Taylor Sparks.

He said there was an easy answer on why he wanted the head coaching job.

"The atmosphere," he said. "It's a good atmosphere, and it's good for some kids to not have a big classroom. Some kids need to be led by their peers. It's good to have students being led by their peers. Sometimes you have kids that just can't handle that big classroom, can't focus.

"A small classroom is good for them,

See Hickman/Page B4


and I think it's good for their education. It's good for them to interact with different people."

Hickman won't have the issue of getting to know his players, as he already knows their skills from coaching last year.

He said that gives him a leg up.

"It's very important," he said. "Me knowing these girls is key. These kids know me, they know what I'm about. What I like about these girls, they want to be coached, they want to be pushed."

(1) comment


Congratulations Coach, well deserved.

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