The 11th-seeded Michigan Wolverines have already pulled off two upsets in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, dispatching No. 6 Colorado State and No. 3 Tennessee on their way to the Sweet 16. Those victories would have been possible without star showings from the man who has been the Wolverines’ best player all season long: center Hunter Dickinson.
Michigan best player: C Hunter Dickinson
Dickinson leads Michigan’s offense with 18.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He is also a good rim protector and has 47 blocks this season.
Dickinson is a big, wide body at 7-foot-1 and 260 pounds. He’s an absolute load down low in the post, where he does most of his work. Dickinson shoots 57 percent from the field and has made 234 baskets, which ranks among the top 25 in the country. He can also step out a little bit; he has made one-third of his 63 attempts from 3-point range. That’s a big increase from last season, when Dickinson attempted only three 3-pointers all year long.
The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year has scored at least 20 points in four of his previous five games, including both of Michigan’s NCAA Tournament wins. He went 8-for-9 from the field for 21 points against the Rams. He then recorded 27 points, 11 rebounds and four assists versus the Volunteers. He went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc that day.
Dickinson declared for last year’s NBA Draft and gave real thought to going pro, but he reconsidered after he wasn’t invited to the league’s Scouting Combine. The decision to return seems to have paid off for the big man. He has expanded his offensive skill set and improved his passing ability as a sophomore. His lack of top-shelf athleticism limits his ceiling, but Dickinson should find a home somewhere during the NBA Draft, likely in the second round.