Former ACCC player dies

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register File Photo/Jocelyn Sheets
Dontay Hicks (32) goes to the basket during a game as a sophomore for Allen County Community College in January 1998. Hicks died at the age of 32 in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisc., two weeks ago.

Mike Hayes remembers Dontay Hicks not just as a dynamic point guard but as “a great young man.”
The former Allen County Community College basketball player died Dec. 26, 2009 of a heart attack after playing a pick-up basketball game, according to reports in the Milwaukee journal Sentinel and other news sources. Hicks was a former standout high school player from Milwaukee, Wisc., who played two years as a point guard for the Allen County Red Devils, 1996-97 and 1997-98.
“I was fortunate because I had a nice conversation with Dontay two days before Christmas. Another former ACCC player — Perry Petty — called me with the devastating news,” said Hayes, ACCC head basketball coach. “Dontay was a great young man. I stayed in close touch with him.”
After playing two years with Allen County under Hayes, Hicks signed a letter of intent to play at University of New Mexico. But his collegiate basketball career was cut short when he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle that impairs the ability to pump blood. The conditions was involved in the deaths of two other basketball players in the early 1990s — Hank Gathers of Loyola Marymount and Reggie Lewis of the Boston Celtics.
“Dontay really wanted to play at the major college level. He loved basketball,” said Hayes, “but no school would take that risk with his health. He stayed in school at New Mexico and got his degree to become a teacher and coach.”
Hicks returned to Milwaukee, where he was an All-City guard at Milwaukee Riverside High School. He was an assistant coach for Milwaukee Vincent High at the time of his death.
Hayes said Hicks was helping with AAU youth basketball. He was married and had a son. He was taking medication for his heart
While playing at Allen County, Hicks was a two-year starter at point guard. In the 1996-97 season, he averaged 16 points, almost five rebounds and five assists a game. He led the Red Devils in assists, 124, and steals, 49. The Red Devils wee 11-19 that season.
As a sophomore, Hicks led the Red Devils to a 19-11 mark and was the leading scorer with 621 points. He had 178 assists and 81 steals plus shot 49 percent from the field, 33 percent from three-point range and 62 percent from the free-throw line. He had a 125 rebounds.