SJ Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year: Hickey revived Winthrop basketball tradition

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A day spent volunteering for the Winthrop Recreation basketball program is like a trip back in time for Winthrop guard Jacob Hickey.

“I can remember being that small and being inspired by the, quote, big kids, in front of me,” he said.

Sam Leclerc and the 2008 Class C state champion Ramblers inspired Hickey and his teammates to lead Winthrop back to its first state title game since then. As a four-year varsity player, team captain and the focus of Winthrop’s offense, Hickey became the model player for future Jacob Hickeys to admire and emulate.

Hickey’s accomplishments earned him the Sun Journal All-Region Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.

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Hickey was the ideal player and person to lead coach Todd MacArthur’s mission to restore Winthrop as a basketball powerhouse. Skilled, coachable, ultra-competitive and eager to make his teammates better, as well as a model student and citizen, Hickey

“He’s the prime example of the type of player I want in this program,” MacArthur said. “He just wanted us to win, and he was going to do anything we asked him to make it happen. And he took a dying program and made it relevant again.”

MacArthur called Hickey one of the best shooters he’s ever seen, and it was clear from his start as a freshman reserve who provided instant offense for the Ramblers that he was going to be a nightmare for opponents trying to guard him.

“It was about trying to find different ways to get the ball in the basket, whether it was trying to get teammates involved or just what you call playing scrappy,” he said.

MacArthur stressed getting teammates involved in particular, and Hickey responded by nearly doubling his assist total from 31 as a junior to 61.

“It was a role he really grasped onto and did a phenomenal job with,” MacArthur said.

Even with the increased emphasis on making others better, Hickey’s all-around game didn’t suffer at all. He averaged 23.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 steals.

Like his role model, Leclerc, he was a Mr. Basketball finalist, and the Mountain Valley Conference player of the year. He topped the 1,000-career point milestone early in the season and led the Ramblers through an undefeated regular season. En-route to the regional title, he became just the eighth player to win back-to-back C. Harry Edwards awards, an honor bestowed upon the outstanding player-sportsman of the Class C South tournament every year since 1953.

Hickey’s dream of duplicating Leclerc’s 2008 state championship fell short, due in part to an ankle injury he suffered early in the Ramblers’ 47-44 loss to George Stevens Academy.

The disappointing ending still sticks with Hickey, who will be one of the top players on Winthrop’s baseball team this spring. But with time to reflect upon the season has given him some perspective as his high school career winds down.

“It was a great season. Having seven other seniors on the team really helps a lot,” said Hickey, who is still exploring his college options. “It was really fun this year. There was never any pressure, really. I think we’re all pretty competitive kids, and it was fun to play with kids similar to you when it comes to sports.”

Boys’ basketball

Player of the year: Jacob Hickey, Winthrop, Sr.

First team

G Jacob Hickey Lewiston Sr.

G Austin Darling Spruce Mtn. Sr.

G John Martin Gray-NG So.

F Jared Norcross Plourde Edward Little Sr.

F Matt Fleming Oxford Hills So.

C Marcus Bailey Oak Hill Sr.

Second team

G Samatar Iman Edward Little Sr

G Jacob Blanchard Mtn. Valley So.

F Caulin Parker Spruce Mtn. Sr.

F Garrett Tsouprake Winthrop Sr.

F Tyrese Joseph Lisbon Sr.

C Cam Wood Winthrop So.

Third team

G Cole Verrier Oxford Hills Sr.

G Hunter Richardson Monmouth Sr.

F Jonah Sautter Lisbon Jr.

F Cooper Chiasson Dirigo Jr.

F D’Andre James Leavitt Sr.

F Jack Sylvester Leavitt Sr.

Honorable mention:

Jarret Bean, Telstar, Jr.; Evan Boston, Oak Hills, Sr.; Nate Chouinard, Poland, Sr.; Kyle Larochelle, Rangeley, Jr.; Wol Maiwen, Edward Little, So.; Dan Luce, Mt. Abram, Sr.; Garrett Poussard, Lewiston, Jr.; Sam Rines, St. Dom’s, Sr.

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