ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan center Hunter Dickinson has been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and the media.
Dickinson was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and widely expected to help Michigan early in his career. But nobody knew he would lead the team in points, rebounds and blocked shots.
In 22 games, Dickinson averaged 14.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 59.6% from the floor and 75% from the free-throw line. His defense on elite big men such as Luka Garza, Kofi Cockburn and Liam Robbins was a pleasant surprise, as well.
Dickinson took over as the starting center when Austin Davis suffered an injury at the end of the non-conference schedule. He scored at least 10 points in 18 games this season, with his season-high 28 coming Jan. 6 against Minnesota.
From afterthought to champion: Despite dominance, Michigan’s Big Ten title is an underdog story
The 7-foot-1 freshman blocked five shots and grabbed 15 rebounds in a comeback win against Wisconsin after Michigan’s 23-day layoff, and scored at least 20 points against Ohio State, Minnesota, Maryland and Penn State.
While his assist numbers aren’t gaudy, his ability to find the open man out of double teams lifted Michigan’s offense to a new level. Opposing coaches were forced to pick between guarding Dickinson one-on-one or allowing him to find open three-point shooters.
As a result, Michigan finished the regular season 19-3 and earned the Big Ten regular season title. The Wolverines will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament next week.