In Houston Baptist, Stickler – a former Baltimore Sun All-Metro first-team selection – found what he was looking for.
“I was really impressed with the coaching staff,” said Stickler, who signed with the Huskies last month. “Particularly the fact that [the coaches] seemed laidback, in contrast to Morehead, where I had a coach that could be described as ‘in your face.’ … It’s in the heart of Houston, so the city is all around it compared to Morehead, which was in a rural area. At HBU, there will be access to lots of things to do.”
A 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard, Stickler averaged 25.6 points and 8.1 rebounds as a senior at Annapolis after transferring from Oak Hill (Va.) Academy. He committed to Morehead State in June 2012 after the Eagles lost coach Donnie Tyndall to Southern Miss and replaced him with Sean Woods.
Stickler appeared in just 10 games as a freshman, averaging 2.5 points and 1.1 rebounds.
“After a year, I just saw that the program wasn’t a good fit for me on the court or off the court for a number of reasons,” Stickler said. “I just felt really uncomfortable being there. At the end of the day, I thought it was best to ask for my release from Coach Woods.”
Stickler resurfaced at Blinn College, a JUCO basketball powerhouse in Brenham, Texas. He averaged 9.2 points, shooting better than 42 percent from the field. He fielded interest from Florida Atlantic, Stephen F. Austin and Northeastern, among others, but Houston Baptist saw him at the Region 14 tournament and pushed for his pledge.
“I’ve always been told to go where you’re wanted,” Stickler said. The coaches “told me they’re bringing me in to contribute right away. Being a JUCO guy, I’m more experienced than I was when I was a freshman. They need the experience to come in right away and play.”
Stickler, who plans to major in political science, is looking forward to joining a relatively new DI program. He hopes to play a major role in helping the Huskies climb up the Southland Conference standings.
“It feels good,” Stickler said. “It feels like a weight is kind of lifted. I can breathe. Definitely feels as if this season will be one to remember for me.”