Created:Thursday, November 12, 2009 2:55 a.m.CST

Pregame Rituals: Sundance Wicks - Doin' the Dew

Men's assistant coach Sundance Wicks downs a 20-ounce Mountain Dew while scouting the opposing team before games. (Beck Diefenbach and Rob Winner)

Sundance Wicks calls his Mountain Dew obsession Caron Butler-like.

Butler, the Washington Wizards small forward, used to drink a two-liter of Mountain Dew before every game in college and throughout his professional career before giving it up over this past summer and losing 12 pounds in the process.

"I've got to get on the Caron Butler plan," said Wicks, an assistant coach for the Northern Illinois men's basketball team.

While the opposing team warms up on the court before a game, Wicks sits two seats in from center court on the opposite side of the team's bench, scouting report in hand, drinking a 20-ounce Mountain Dew.

To those who know Wicks, giving Mountain Dew to a man who is energy personified, would seem like adding a couple of light bulbs to the Las Vegas strip.

In truth, the caffeinated high-sugar drink has the complete opposite effect with him.

"It's always calmed me down," Wicks said. "I'm always hyper anyways. The Mountain Dew has contributed to that a little bit. But it calms me down. It's a comforting thing to me."

Drinking a cold Mountain Dew allows Wicks to focus on the opposing team's strengths and weaknesses and try to find an advantage for the Huskies.

"You can tell a lot about a player based on how he warms up," he said. "If he's going good and working hard, he's going to have a good night."

Wicks doesn't have to finish the entire 20 ounces, though. If his scouting report is taking up the majority of his time during warmups, it likely won't get finished, and that's OK as long as he can get a few sips in to start.

"Sometimes, to be honest with you, it gets warm," Wicks said. "It'll sit for a little bit and it gets warm, and I just won't finish it. If it's cold, though, it's going down."

How Wicks ended up with Mountain Dew as his drink of choice takes a little bit of work.

His favorite drink is Mello Yellow, but that's tough to find and Wicks said there are only a couple of places in DeKalb that even have it in stock.

Wicks' mother also enjoyed Coke products, making Mountain Dew, a Pepsi product, scarce while growing up.

"I wanted to break away a little from the family," he said with a laugh.

And so Wicks found comfort in Mountain Dew and has been drinking it before games since his playing days at Northern State, where he graduated in 2003.

The only thing that's not comforting to think about is how much Wicks has spent on his Dew habit. Wicks' estimated parameters for how much he has spent on Mountain Dew was $1.25 a bottle every day for eight years.

That comes out to $3,652.50 on Mountain Dew.

"I don't even want to think about that," Wicks said.

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