On April 1st, the college basketball world buzzed with the news that Michigan Center Hunter Dickinson would enter the transfer portal. While Michigan fans held out hope that it was a cruel April Fool’s Day joke, it turned out to be the real deal. Its unheard of that a program the caliber of Michigan could lose arguably its best player that helped win a B1G Championship make two deep NCAA Tournament runs to another program willingly and not due to a disciplinary issue.
After all, what national title-contending team wouldn’t want a 7’1” potential All-American talent that over his three collegiate seasons averaged 18.5 Points and 9 rebounds per game. There has been a plethora of rumors about where Dickinson could potentially play next season. Let’s take a quick look at where the Michigan star could suit up next season.
One of the first schools that has shown interest in Dickinson is Kentucky. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported that Dickinson had a Skype meeting scheduled on April 5th with Head Coach John Calipari.
Kentucky could potentially be a great fit. Last week, Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe declared for the NBA Draft. Tshiebwe was the 2022 AP National Player of the Year and leaves a big hole in the front court for the Wildcats that Dickinson can fill immediately for a team that is always amongst the preseason national title contenders.
Kentucky can offer Dickinson an increase in NIL money, even more exposure at a perennial national title contender, and the chance to play for a coach that has sent 45 players to the NBA since he arrived in Lexington.
Could Hunter Dickinson go home to play for Maryland? Dickinson played high school basketball for Maryland hoops powerhouse DeMatha Catholic, and he fits an immediate need for the Terrapins.
Maryland would be a step down in terms of national exposure and is much less likely to make a run for a national title. It is also worth noting that Dickinson has been known to troll Maryland and other B1G programs whenever he gets a chance. While I don’t see this move happening, don’t dismiss the allure or the hometown kid returning to return Maryland to its pre B1G days as a national power, much like it was in the 90s and early 2000s.
Another blue blood is reportedly showing interest. In a mailbag piece, Shreyas Laddha of the Kanas City Star reported that Kansas Head Coach Bill Self half-jokingly said that he is looking in the transfer portal for a “big man that can get 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds)”.
Again, Kansas fits what Dickinson could be potentially looking for in a new program. Kansas won the 2022 National Championship and is always amongst the favorites to return to the Final Four every year under Bill Self. An increase in exposure and a potential increase in NIL money could prove to be too much to ignore.
As I mentioned previously, Hunter Dickinson entered the transfer portal a little over a week ago, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t return to the Wolverines. After all, entering the transfer portal only grants the right for other schools to openly recruit available players in the portal.
Michigan has lost a few other key contributors from last season’s team. Both Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin declared for the NBA Draft after the Wolverines were eliminated by the Jerry Stackhouse-led Commodores in the 2nd round of the NIT.
However, over the past few days Juwan Howards has been working the transfer portal and added some potentially good pieces to a team that is looking to get back to the NCAA tournament after a disappointing year. Michigan added North Carolina’s leading scorer Caleb Love, former High School All-American Nimari Burnett from Alabama, and graduate transfer big man Tray Jackson from Seton Hall.
Will the pieces that Coach Howard brought in be enough to convince Dickinson to return to Ann Arbor? Is Michigan willing to put a bigger emphasis on NIL deals and collectives in order to keep top talent? Time will tell, but maybe if Dickinson leaves, it will be the kick in the pants that Michigan needs to avoid a similar situation in the future.
Another notable option for Hunter Dickinson next season is to forgo his senior season and declare for the NBA Draft. While players with his skillset are no longer the focal point of NBA teams, I wouldn’t dismiss this as an option. After Dickinson’s freshman year, he openly flirted with the idea of staying in the draft pool but ultimately decided to return to Ann Arbor. The deadline to declare for the NBA Draft is April 13th and the deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft and retain eligibility is June 12th.
Article written by Woodward Sports guest writer, Michael Darke
Photo Credit: © Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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