Originally from Trenton, N.J., Al Hicks readily admits that he never heard of Keene State College prior to working out for then Coach Glenn Theulen following high school graduation. Ironically, four years and 120 games later, Al Hicks had become the all-fime leading scorer for KSC men's basketball, with 2,020 points. "I never thought I would score 2,000 points," said Hicks when he returned to Keene State last summer. "The record still means a lot to me,"
One of two freshmen on the team in 1972, an eager Hicks didn't take long to impress his coach and teammates with his basketball expertise. "Al was a very strong physical player with huge hands," remembers Theulen. "He was a natural scorer who knew what to do with the ball."
Earning a starting role with the Owls by his third game, Hicks averaged 14 points on the 1972-73 Keene State team, which won the NESCAC Championship and received an invitation to the NA1A Tournament in Kansas City, "I was never so nervous before a game," recalled Hicks. "We were playing Guilford College of North Carolina in front of 15,000 people, and I had butterflies in my stomach."
And whom did Hicks guard in the game? Just an All-American forward named M.L. Carr, who later joined the NBA and coached the Boston Celtics. "That was the type of player I was; I didn't mind going up against the best," said Hicks who "held" Carr to 15 points in the game.
By his sophornore season, Hicks had established himself as one of the team's go-to players. Making a second trip to the NAIA Tournament, the Owls were also garnering quite a following at Spaulding Gym. "We drew huge crowds for our big games," Hicks said, "It was great having a lot of people pulling for us."
In his final two seasons, Hicks began his assault on Keene Stale's record book. Highlighted by a 40-point, 21-rebound performance against Rhode Island College, Hicks scored his 1,000th point midway through his junior season. He would save his best for last, surpassing the 2,000-point mark in his final collegiate game against Roger Williams College at the Providence Civic Center. No slouch when it came to hitting the boards, Hicks is also second on Keene State's career rebounding list.
Hicks now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he works with mentally challenged adults in a recreation center.