Collegiate and pro basketball star
Born: November 26, 1966, in Center Moriches, New York
Attended: Rutgers University
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2023: Sports
Sue Wicks spent much of her childhood on the water, but as a collegian and an adult, she gained fame on the hardwood.
Growing up on Long Island, she often was on the ocean with her fisherman father. As she grew older her talent for athletics became clear. She enrolled at Rutgers University in 1984 and became the star of the women’s basketball varsity, racking up an unparalleled series of honors.
Named the second greatest athlete in Rutgers history behind Paul Robeson, Wicks is the most highly decorated player in the history of Scarlet Knight basketball. A three-time Kodak All-American (from 1986-88), Wicks was named U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Year in 1987; the following year she won the Naismith Award as the nation’s best collegiate player.
As of 2023, Wicks still owns RU career records for points, rebounds, scoring average, rebounding average, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, and blocked shots. Her scoring and rebounding totals are records in both the men’s and women’s history books. From 1986-88, Wicks led Rutgers to a 105-21 record and three Atlantic-10 Tournament titles. Each of those seasons, she was conference player of the year and Atlantic-10 Tournament MVP.
In 1987, Wicks earned a gold medal at the Pan-American Games. In the years after playing for RU, she competed professionally in Italy, Japan, Spain, Turkey, Hungary, France, and Israel. When the WNBA was formed in 1997, Wicks was a first-round selection (sixth overall) for the New York Liberty. During her six seasons with the team, the Liberty won four Eastern Conference titles. Wicks, a 2000 WNBA All-Star, served as the Liberty’s captain and star defender. She finished her career as the team’s all-time leader in blocked shots and rebounds.
After retiring as a pro, Wicks formed an all-girls basketball camp in New York and served as coordinator of operations for the Rutgers women’s basketball team. In 2005, she was named assistant coach of the RU team. The same year, she was inducted into the university’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. She previously had been inducted into RU’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Wicks is also notable for her pioneering candor on sexual orientation. In 2002, she came out as gay, the first player to do so in the WNBA.
Since 2012, Wicks has been a sports ambassador for the U.S. State Department. She’s also back on the water. In 2017, she followed a family tradition and started an oyster-farming business on Long Island.