Khaliq Spicer: Shock-blocking menace on the court, fun-loving guy off

Senior+center+Kahliq+Spicer+looks+to+pass+the+ball+after+gathering+the+offensive+rebound+during+the+first+half+of+the+Kent+State+vs+Youngstown+game+on+Nov.+14%2C+2015.+The+Golden+Flashes+won+79-70.

Senior center Kahliq Spicer looks to pass the ball after gathering the offensive rebound during the first half of the Kent State vs Youngstown game on Nov. 14, 2015. The Golden Flashes won 79-70.

Kyle Samec

Khaliq Spicer, or LiqLiq as his friends call him, blocks shots like an NBA superstar. Recording 53 last season, third most in Kent State history for a single season, coach Rob Senderoff thinks it’s just the beginning for the senior from Detroit.

Spicer came to Kent State after playing at Robichaud High School, then Amateur Athletic Union basketball for the Michigan Mustangs. He was ranked No. 41 at his position by ESPN when he joined the Flashes back in 2012.

When Senderoff first met Spicer, the current 6-foot-9 player 230 pounder was only 192 pounds, which meant he was going to have to put on some weight to handle the size of Division I athletes.

“I think he has really developed, and now you’re sort of seeing that here his senior year where he is certainly the anchor of our defense,” Senderoff said. “He’s gotten better and better as a player. This year … everything is up from last year. I think he will continue to improve as the season goes along. In my eyes he’s sort of just scratching the surface of how good of a player he can be.”

Spicer became an every-game starter last season as a junior. He said he had to prove to his coaches he was ready for a bigger role.

“The upperclassmen had seniority over me and they were good players,” Spicer said of his first two years. “I had to mature, also. There were a lot of things I had to learn.”

Besides improving as a basketball player, Khaliq said being a senior and captain means that he needs to help the freshmen and transfer students get comfortable with their new setting.

“(I’m) just encouraging them and letting them know what it takes to transition from high school to college,” Spicer said. “With my help or Chris Ortiz’s help or even Kellon Thomas’ help, it’s up to us to help them out to get through their transition.”

Kellen Thomas, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound guard from Indianapolis, has been Spicer’s roommate since he was a freshman. Thomas threw Spicer the pass that set up his first dunk and points in his collegiate career.

Spicer acts a lot like Andrew Luck, the Pro Bowl starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Both give off that “I’m nothing special” vibe, even though it’s apparent from watching them play that there is something special about them.

Khaliq story from KentWired.com on Vimeo.

Luck is a friendly guy when talking to the media, and Spicer seems right at home as well. He said he gets nervous in front of cameras, which is ironic because he plays in a stadium that can house over 6,000 people and the Flashes’ games are televised several times a year.

Senderoff said Spicer is “impossible not to like.”

“He’s as normal a kid as you could find,” Senderoff said. “He’s going to be incredibly successful in basketball after this season, assuming he wants to continue, and with anything he wants to do 10, 15 or 20 years down the road. He’s such a great, great kid.”

Kyle Samec is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]