In an era of college basketball when players change teams on a whim and can test the NBA waters before returning to school, the job of reshaping a roster is more difficult than ever for coaches around the country.
But for Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard, who is assembling his team for the 2022-23 season, that task became significantly less troublesome Sunday evening when star center Hunter Dickinson announced his intention to play a third season in Ann Arbor.
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“I ain’t done yet,” Dickinson said on a graphic shared across his social media platforms.
Michigan’s leading scorer and rebounder had remained quiet about his future in the weeks since a Sweet 16 loss to Villanova. In the aftermath of that game, Dickinson told reporters he would need time to sort through his options before deciding whether to return or enter the draft for the second consecutive year. Dickinson tested the waters after earning All-America honors his freshman season but was told by NBA executives that he would be a mid-second round pick — an assessment he neither agreed with nor enjoyed.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NBA draft is 11:59 pm on April 24, and Dickinson was one of three UM players for whom that option was viable. Small forward Caleb Houstan and power forward Moussa Diabate — both former five-star recruits who were projected to be selected in this year’s draft before playing a minute of college basketball — could be intrigued by the chance to navigate the same process Dickinson experienced last spring and receive feedback from the league.
Neither Houstan nor Diabate had gone public with their decisions at the time of Dickinson’s announcement at 6:30 pm
Dickinson’s return is a boon for Howard, who faced the possibility of another significant roster churn following the departures of shooting guard Eli Brooks, point guard DeVante’ Jones, power forward Brandon Johns Jr. and combo guard Zeb Jackson. Had Dickinson decided to turn pro, the Wolverines would have approached next season without their top three scorers from the 2021-22 campaign.
After a year in which he averaged 18.6 points per game (fifth in the Big Ten) and 8.6 rebounds per game (fourth in the Big Ten), Dickinson will be discussed among the best players in college basketball and someone who can guide the Wolverines toward a sixth consecutive trip to the Sweet 16.