Hunter Dickinson on Tuesday announced via Twitter that he would withdraw from the NBA Draft in favor of staying in Ann Arbor another year.
Dickinson’s future at Michigan looked uncertain earlier this spring when he declared for the draft in late May. At that time, he was leaning towards leaving, but after he didn’t get an invitation to the NBA Combine, his mind was split. He took his time with the decision, making the announcement just one day before the NCAA’s Draft-withdrawal deadline. Ultimately, it came down to his low draft projection and his desire to have a more normal college experience.
“I’ve always said from the start I didn’t want to be a mid-to-late-second-round pick, and so I just wanted to stay true to myself and stay true to what I was saying from the beginning,” Dickinson said. “I wanted to be a first-round pick, and if (coming back to Michigan is) what I got to do, then that’s what I got to do.”
He said most NBA teams gave him similar feedback: They wanted to see more reps from him and see him make improvements surrounding his ball screens.
Dickinson said his teammates and coaches were supportive from start to finish.
“(Michigan coach Juwan Howard) was behind me for whatever I chose, and I really appreciated that from him,” Dickinson said. “I mean, that’s kind of what I expected from him because that’s the kind of man he is.”
But there’s no doubt they’re excited to have him back. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year was invaluable for the Wolverines last season, leading the team with 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. With Isaiah Livers and Mike Smith — both offensive assets — leaving, Dickinson will likely take on an even larger role for Michigan’s offense, and will be key for its championship aspirations in the coming year.
“Winning a national championship is obviously something that I came back for,” he said. “I didn’t come back for more personal accolades. I wanted to win as a team this year.”
Dickinson described the recently changed name, image and likeness regulations as an “added bonus” for coming back.
“With the caliber of player I am, with the kind of notoriety I have, then the kind of school and alumni and just the brand of Michigan itself, I felt like I’m in a really good position and I’ve really good opportunity ahead of me to benefit and to capitalize on a lot of stuff,” he said.
Beyond working towards a national championship, Dickinson is looking forward to the opportunity to have the “real” college experience he didn’t get last year, which — when you’re a big man for the Wolverines — means playing in front of a packed Crisler Center or meeting fans around campus.
Despite his excitement to return to Michigan, Dickinson’s end goal remains the same. When asked whether he would have stayed if his draft predictions had been higher, he answer was clear: