Dallas Hancox has his priorities straight.
Coming out of high school at Hunting Hills Hancox was one of the top men’s basketball players in Central Alberta and was heavily recruited by RDC Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. Hancox joined the Kings for the 2013-14 season and while basketball was a major part of his life, so was education.
“When you come out of high school you have dreams of grandeur and want to play professional and such, but things happen and you have to prepare to hunker down and get into your career. If not you’re back where you started coming out of high school.”
Education was always important, even in high school. What he did do was use basketball to help in that area.
Hancox attended school in Sylvan Lake from Grade 7 to Grade 10, then made a decision to transfer to Hunting Hills.
“I needed to go somewhere to be challenged in basketball, plus they had an academic program I was interested in,” he said. “They had a health and wellness program that suited my needs.”
He played for the Hunting Hills Lightning for two years, before joining the Kings.
He had a solid rookie season with the Kings. He played in 18 games and while he had limited playing time he still had 27 rebounds and a team-high 14 blocked shots.
Despite a solid season he felt he needed to take a year off.
“I was questioning what direction my life was taking and decided to take a year off to sort through things in terms of academics and just to take care of my body and mind. I have a tendency to go, go, go with no recovery time. I needed some time off for a break and to get my mind set.”
But what he also decided was that he would return to the Kings this year.
“That was always in my mind,” said Hancox, who turned 21 on Wednesday. “I talked with Clayton in the summer following my first year and he asked me to at least come out to camp. I attended the first camp in September, but told him I needed the time off, but I also wanted to return this year and be part of the team. I told Clayton I would be committed to staying in shape. There was unfinished business.”
The year was perfect for the six-foot-eight Hancox, who played some three-on-three basketball, but mainly concentrated on staying in shape and working on his degree in kinesiology. He did both. He made the president’s honour role (3.5 PGA and higher) and also came into camp this season in great shape. He’s had a strong first half, averaging seven points per game, 6.88 rebounds and has a team and league high 12 blocks.
The Kings have one of the premier teams in the country — ranked third — and more depth up front than in Hancox’s first year. Despite battling for playing time Hancox is enjoying his time.
“I have a different perspective. It helped to take a step back and have a break. Coming back I can see the growth as a player and a person.
“I really like the dynamic of our team. It’s great to compete against and with the guys. The competition in practice is outstanding and being with the guys on the floor and seeing everyone producing is great.”
The Kings have one of the premier inside men in the province in Matt Matear, who leads the South in rebounds per game at 11.68, and added six-foot-eight Shayne Stumpf during the break. As well forward Tyler Wise is healthy.
Hancox said he played one game against Stumpf — a Lacombe native — when he was in Grade 10.
“He was intimidating. He was developed as a forward … He was someone I aspired to be. It’s great to play with him, we seem to function well together.”
Hancox looks back at a brief time in 2012, when he was with his father in Okotoks, that played a major role in his development.
“I played for a couple of months with an elite program and the coach told me I had to do things I was never expected to do before, like dribbling the ball and making the passes. It was a great learning experience.”
He returned to Hunting Hills and helped them win the Central Alberta title and compete at the provincials.
Hancox was born in Montreal, but moved to Langley, B.C., at an early age. He moved to Sylvan Lake in Grade 7.
“I played some Steve Nash League in Langley, but really got into basketball in Sylvan Lake,” he explained.
He continued to grow and is now one of the most feared defenders, at least when it comes to blocked shots, in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
“It’s a matter of reading the play,” he said. “I obviously get beat once in a while because I take some risks, but I try to make the offensive player feel comfortable with the ball, then go for the block when he doesn’t expect it.”
Hancox isn’t sure where he will be next year.
“I want to stay involved in athletics and would love to coach and be a mentor,” he said. “But as for my education. I will get my kinesiology diploma and I’m now leaning toward getting into business and online business. So who knows where I’ll be next year.”
Hancox will be counted on this weekend as RDC hosts the Medicine Hat Rattlers today and Saturday. The Kings defeated the Rattlers 95-71 earlier this season in Medicine Hat.
The RDC squad has a 9-0 record and is first in the South Division with MHC tied for second at 6-3.
The Queens, 4-5, have even a tougher test as they sit two points back of the third-place Rattlers, 5-4.
The Queens lost 77-65 at MHC.
The Kings lost their leading scorer Ian Tevis during the break while adding Stumpf.