Born and raised in Goleta, California Jelani Grew up playing basketball and running track at the Goleta Boys and Girls Club. Had a successful basketball career at Dos Pueblos High School and also played collegiate basketball at Bakersfield College. He finished his collegiate career at Missouri Valley College while earning a Bachelors Degree in Business Management. Jelani also played semi pro basketball in southern California.
Jelani began sharing his love for the game coaching and giving individual skill lessons to local youth. Hicks has a strong passion to help improve the local youth’s knowledge of the game. He mentions his father, Bernard Hicks, and his mentor, Carrick DeHart as his biggest influences to begin his coaching career. Upon returning home from college, Jelani began to assist Carrick DeHart with his high school club team, the Santa Barbara Blazers. It is here where Jelani realized his love for teaching the game and helping local youth reach their goals. Before the 2011 season, Jelani decided to take on the task of becoming the Head Varsity coach of the Dos Pueblos High School girls basketball program. He saw this as a great opportunity to challenge himself while trying to take this talented group to another level. In the two previous seasons before Jelani’s arrival, the team suffered two losing seasons.Upon his arrival, Jelani led the Chargers to two consecutive winning seasons and helped a handful of his players take their game to the next level and play collegiate basketball.