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Gonzaga Basketball
Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Five-star point guard Nolan Hickman picks Gonzaga after decommitting from Kentucky

UPDATED: Sat., May 15, 2021

Gonzaga guard Julian Strawther (0) walks off the floor with teammate Jalen Suggs after Kraziness in the Kennel, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in the McCarthey Athletic Center.  (Dan Pelle/THESPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Gonzaga guard Julian Strawther (0) walks off the floor with teammate Jalen Suggs after Kraziness in the Kennel, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle/THESPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The highest-rated recruiting class in Gonzaga history received another five-star addition.

Nolan Hickman promised a decision shortly after last week’s Iverson Classic and Saturday he announced his next destination will be Gonzaga.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Hickman posted on social media he has signed with the Zags.

Hickman is a five-star recruit and No. 22 in ESPN’s ratings. He’s No. 29 in 247sports’ composite rankings, which combines the ratings of 247sports, Rivals and ESPN.

Hickman joins 247sportscomposite’s No. 1 Chet Holmgren, No. 18 Hunter Sallis and No. 53 Kaden Perry in Gonzaga’s incoming class. The Zags also added Iowa State grad transfer guard Rasir Bolton.

The Zags were fifth in 247sports’ rankings prior to Hickman’s announcement. Gonzaga was No. 6 in the 2020 rankings with Jalen Suggs, Julian Strawther and Dominick Harris.

Strawther and Harris will be Hickman’s new teammates and running mates in Gonzaga’s backcourt, which loses Suggs, Joel Ayayi, Aaron Cook and Corey Kispert.

Senior Andrew Nembhard will likely become Gonzaga’s primary ballhandler, but the Zags have several options, including Hickman and Bolton, to use multiple point guards and playmakers on the floor together. The Zags had great success last season with Suggs and Nemhbard on the floor simultaneously.

Hickman, Sallis and Holmgren were at the Iverson Classic in Memphis, Tennessee. Holmgren had 20 points and 11 boards and was named MVP for Team Honor, which defeated Team Loyalty 143-131.

“Hickman managed to stand out of a pack that featured a handful of highly ranked prospects by creating (with) the dribble, dropping effective pocket passes, playing tenacious defense on the perimeter, where he blocked a pair of shots,” Rivals recruiting director Rob Cassidy wrote after an Iverson scrimmage.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweeted that Hickman was “one of the big stock boosters of the Iverson Classic thanks to the impressive combination of ball-handling, passing, shooting, defense and all-around IQ he displayed.”

Hickman and Perry were teammates on the Seattle Rotary AAU team.

Hickman decommitted from Kentucky about two weeks ago after the Wildcats lost assistants Tony Barbee, who accepted the head coaching job at Central Michigan, and Joel Justus, who joined Arizona State’s staff. Barbee was Hickman’s lead recruiter and Justus was heavily involved.

Hickman, who played three seasons at Eastside Catholic in Sammamish, Washington, before finishing his prep career at Wasatch Academy in Utah, told Cassidy at the Iverson Classic he talked with “Auburn, UCLA, Arizona State, Washington and Gonzaga lately.”

Hickman’s father, Nolan Sr., told CBS Sports Jon Rothstein his finalists were Gonzaga, Auburn and Kansas.

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