Here comes the Sun

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After an extensive search for a new men’s basketball coach, Missouri Western has found there man in Sundance Wicks, as he becomes the fifth head coach in the team’s history.

Wicks was previously an associate head coach at Northern State University, his alma matter, where he led them to a losing effort in the Division 2 national championship game.

Athletic Director Josh Looney talks about his first meeting with Wicks.

“When we met Sunny face-to-face, we knew that he was our guy,” Looney said. “I think when all of you meet him face-to-face, you will experience first-hand his energy and enthusiasm for mentoring young people and the game of basketball.”

Wicks lettered four years as a student-athlete at Northern State from 1999-2003. As a student-athlete, Wicks was named All-NSIC, scoring 1,174 points and snatching 665 rebounds in his career. Wicks also ran track and was a two-time All-NSIC in the 400-meter hurdles at Northern State. He graduated with a bachelor’s in international business and would also obtain a master’s in health, physical education and coaching from Northern State in 2006. After graduation, Wicks would play in Sweden for the Sodertalje Kings where he led the team in points and rebounding.

He began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Northern State under Don Meyer. He has held assistant coaching positions at Northern State, Colorado (2006-2007) Northern Illinois (2007-2011) and San Francisco (2015-2016). Looney mentioned that  one of his favorite stories Wicks likes to tell is when his first scouter report was on Kevin Durant.

Wicks is a big believer in faith.

“Your faith has got to be greater than your failures,” Wicks said. “Whichever one you give power to that the one that takes over. If ‘spell out faith and failure, they both start off with the same three letters: f, a and i. If you start living on your faith understand now that there is a great plan now for all that stuff. And that’s what we are looking for here.”

He is also one of the co-founders of the Arizona Power Basketball Academy in Phoenix, where he was a skill instructor and director from 2011-2015. Wicks also has some NBA experience as he spent five months at Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas training draft prospects such as Kawhi Leonard, Alec Burks and Isaiah Thomas.

Wicks continued on to give a speech at the press conference in Spratt Memorial Stadium last Friday.

“I have seen these things and I know it works,” he says, explaining his expectations of authentic and dedicated players that he is looking to coach.

Wicks believes that the MIAA is one the best conferences in the nation.

“This conference is a monster, it’s a beast of a region,” Wicks said. “Like four out of the past five years, a team has at least won or played in the National Championship game. This isn’t for the faint of heart. I came down here because this is one of the best regions. “BC (we call him) would always come in the locker room and Ric Flair us right before we went, saying, ‘To be the man you gotta beat the man. Woooo!’ This region, there is a lot of men and we’ve got to beat them. It’s going to be hard and that’s the best part about it.”

The new face of Western basketball looks to get his team off to a good start.

“We are going to hit the ground running,” Wicks said. “I’ve lived all over the country; when it comes to finding players, it’s just far and wide.”