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News » Let's see what you got, rook

Let's see what you got, rook

Let's see what you got, rook

An NBA rookie's life is filled with ups and downs, and the Cavaliers' J.J. Hickson is no exception.

On Friday night, Hickson played a productive 18 minutes in the Cavs' 117-92 victory over visiting Chicago. He had 13 points, making 5 of 8 field goals and 3 of 5 free throws, with six rebounds and two blocked shots. All that was welcome production as the team learned it would be without starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas for at least a month because of an ankle injury.

Then on Saturday afternoon, Hickson had to bolt as soon as practice was over because he forgot to pack for the team's trip to Washington.

So it goes for the 20-year-old forward, who got an alarm clock from LeBron James for Christmas, at least in part because of the bus he missed during training camp.

On the floor, though, Hickson definitely has been making progress.

"He's maturing," Cavs coach Mike Brown said after practice Saturday. "He's a talented individual already. There are a lot of things he can do that I can't teach and nobody else can teach, especially with his athleticism. . . . But the more that he's in practice and in game situations, the better he's going to get."

Although a line of veterans have been playing ahead of him, the loss of Ilgauskas frees up some minutes.

The Cavs hope Hickson will respond and help keep the team among the league leaders.

"It's going to be tough, guys have to pick it up," James said Friday of the loss of Ilgauskas. "We have a veteran ballclub, and we have guys coming off the bench. We're going to see who can step up. It's going to be challenging for J.J.

"We just want him to play hard and everything else is a bonus. We don't expect J.J. to score a bunch of points. He's got to rebound the Basketball and defend. [Friday] was a big step for him, he was focused and played well."

Brown likely will use Hickson again today against the Wizards, but the coach always tempers his expectations of his rookies.

"At the end of the day, I'm not going to put the pressure on J.J. or myself or the team to say that if he plays well we're going to win or if he doesn't play well we're not going to win," Brown said. "He just has to go out there and play hard. If he's playing well, great. If not, I know we have other guys who are capable of stepping up."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4668



What: Cavs at Washington Wizards.

When: 1 p.m.

Where: Verizon Center.

TV/radio: FSN Ohio; WTAM AM/1100.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: January 6, 2009


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