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Tony Hicks opens up about picking Louisville

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Greer of the C-J caught up with Tony Hicks -- the player we told you last night would be joining the Louisville basketball team in 2016-17 -- today for a candid interview about why he chose to leave Penn, his disciplinary issues while a member of the program, and his thoughts on U of L's current off-the-court issues.

On Louisville:

"It was just something I couldn't pass up," said Hicks, who will graduate from Penn in mid-May and enroll at U of L later that month. "I'm just excited for the opportunity to be on this stage like this. I'm willing to do anything to help them."

On leaving Penn:

"It was very interesting," Hicks said. "I felt like Coach Donahue had hit it off very well throughout the summer and everything. A few weeks before our first game, he felt it would be better if I did this because he didn't feel that my playing style fit how he wanted to play and how he wanted to go forward in the future. He felt he couldn't jeopardize that with me being his leading player. I thought about it, and thought if he doesn't feel this is the best place for me, then I should feel it out."

On being suspended for four games during his time as a Quaker:

"First and foremost, Coach Pitino told me that if this is something that will be a problem, then don't come," Hicks said. "There has been so much going on at Louisville, so I understand that. But, looking back on it, it was just being not mature. It was me not being my own man, following the wrong crowd. There was frustration with technical (fouls) and it was just me worrying about things I can't control.

"Just me, growing up, especially now, looking back, it wasn't that serious. It wasn't something I should have let bother me. I can let things go now. It's just being a lot more mature."

On the NCAA investigation into Louisville:

"It did (come up). It absolutely did," Hicks said. "But, at the same time, it's Louisville. It's Coach Pitino. It's the ACC. They honestly don't feel that anything will happen -- at the most, (lose) a few scholarships, which won't impact me much.

"(Pitino) felt absolute worst-case scenario is no (NCAA tournament). If that were to happen, that wasn't a dealbreaker. I felt comfortable with it. I really just felt like they won't get punished too bad. It was something nobody who is there now had known about."

Hicks says he's hoping to make an official visit to U of L when North Carolina comes to the Yum Center on Feb. 1. You can read the full transcript of his conversation with Greer here.