Michigan freshman Hunter Dickinson named semifinalist for college basketball Player of the Year

Dickinson one of 10 finalists for Naismith Award

Hunter Dickinson #1 of the Michigan Wolverines shoots the ball over Trayce Jackson-Davis #23 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the second half at Assembly Hall on February 27, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (2021 Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.Michigan freshman Hunter Dickinson has been named a semifinalist for the Naismith Award, which is given to college basketball’s Player of the Year.

Dickinson is one of 10 players named semifinalists:

  • Jared Butler, Baylor
  • Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
  • Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
  • Ayo Dosumnu, Illinois
  • Luka Garza, Iowa
  • Quentin Grimes, Houston
  • Herbert Jones, Alabama
  • Corey Kispert, Gonzaga
  • Evan Mobley, USC
  • Drew Timme, Gonzaga

Dickinson won’t win the award, but it’s a great accomplishment to make this list, especially as a true freshman. Garza and Dosumnu are regarded as the favorites to win the award.

In 20 games this season, Dickinson is averaging 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He shoots 60% from the floor and 75.9% from the free-throw line.

Hunter Dickinson #1 of the Michigan Wolverines puts up two points over the defense of Zed Key #23 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio on February 21, 2021. Michigan defeated Ohio State 92-87. (2021 Getty Images)

Perhaps most impressive has been Dickinson’s work on the defensive end of the floor. He’s playing in a conference loaded with talented big men, yet the freshman has had no problem holding his own.

Most notably, Dickinson shut down Garza in a meeting earlier this month, holding him to just six of 19 field goals, most of which came against Austin Davis and Brandon Johns.

Dickinson also played well against Minnesota’s Liam Robbins in the first meeting, and held Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn scoreless before getting into foul trouble and seeing the game get out of hand.

READ: Everything goes wrong for Michigan basketball in blowout loss to Illinois

On offense, Dickinson’s ability and willingness to pass is invaluable to Michigan. Since he is such a prolific scorer with his back to the basket, teams can’t afford to defend him one-on-one. But if they send a double team, Dickinson is excellent at looking to the weak side and finding open shooters.

Essentially, his all-around game makes opposing coaches pick their poisons, and that’s a big reason why the Wolverines are 18-2 and a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.


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