Hunter Dickinson, a new Kansas Jayhawk and star transfer from Michigan, arrived in Lawrence on Saturday with one thing on his mind.
He can’t wait to play pickup basketball with his KU teammates.
“I think we are trying to get one in here soon because I’m kind of antsy to play with the guys,” Dickinson said Sunday. “I’m super excited to play with them. So I think we are trying to put something together soon.”
The player he’s most excited to team with? Jayhawk point guard Dajuan Harris.
“Selfishly, I think he’s going to make it real easy for me,” Dickinson said.
Dickinson committed to Kansas on May 4, but KU has seen quite the roster overhaul since.
Currently, the Jayhawks roster sits at ten scholarship players with three returnees (Harris, KJ Adams and Kevin McCullar), three incoming freshmen (Marcus Adams, Elmarko Jackson and Jamari McDowell) and four transfers (Dickinson, Parker Braun, Nick Timberlake and Arterio Morris).
That comes after Saturday’s news that incoming freshman Chris Johnson is asking out of his letter of intent to KU.
“We kind of have a brand new team,” Dickinson said. “I remember on my visit, I was with three of the walk-ons. It was super fun getting to know them, but now I have a group of new brothers. I’m already getting to know the guys. (They’re) super cool.
“It’s crazy because we are all coming from different walks (of life). Like, we got the older guys and then we got the other half of the younger guys coming in — it’s a good mix. I think it will make for a really good team. Really good chemistry and atmosphere.”
Dickinson already has his calendar circled for KU’s Puerto Rico trip in August. He hopes it will help increase the team’s chemistry. Before his last season at Michigan, he went on a similar trip to Europe.
“I loved our trip last year, it was so much fun,” Dickinson. “It was a great time for bonding and stuff like that. Just being somewhere with just your teammates in another part (of the world) … will be really fun and good to see guys in their element. Hopefully, it will make us closer on and off the court.”
There’s another thing that excites Dickinson about joining KU. On paper, the Jayhawks have the most talented roster Dickinson has ever been a part of.
“I think it’s going to be really easy with Dajuan,” Dickinson said. “I remember right before I committed, I called him up and was like, ‘Man, if you don’t average 10 assists this year, it’s going to be your fault.’ And (Bill) Self told him that, too.
“I know Dajuan is gonna make it really easy for me, but I am trying to make it easier for the other guys, too. I feel like I attract a lot of attention on offense. (So) I told KJ, Dajuan and Nick, ‘You’re going to get a lot of open shots, a lot of easy shots for me, and hopefully it’s vice-versa.’”
Dickinson compared KU’s 2023-24 basketball roster to his AAU days.
“You’ve got so much talent on the floor where it’s just so hard to guard and makes it so fun,” Dickinson said, “because everybody is scoring and everybody is eating. That just makes it a whole lot of fun.”
Dickinson averaged 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds last season, but he’s not worried about his individual stats.
“I told (Self) I can get whatever you need, Coach — whatever it is, whenever it is,” Dickinson said. “I’m just here to win another national championship. ... If that means me scoring 10 points or 20 points, it doesn’t really matter. I just want to come here, affect winning and leave my mark the best I can.”
Off the court, Dickinson has big plans for his first summer in Lawrence — he plans to work Self’s basketball camps and hopes to have his own camp.
“I’m trying to host my own camp here soon,” he said. “Just a free camp to get acclimated with the community. Kind of show people I’m not trying to (just) be here (as) a one-year guy. I’m trying to make sure … I leave my mark here.”
About that ... Dickinson has the option to stay for more than one season if he so chooses. He could return for a super-senior season in 2024-25 after playing out his senior year in the fall.
Dickinson did not give any indication on that topic on Sunday.
“I said after I came back the first time it was definitely going to be the last time,” Dickinson said, “and here I am, being a senior again.”
Whether he plays one season or two, the star big man hopes to become a Jayhawk legend.
“I want to play against the best competition,” Dickinson said. “That’s why I came here. I know there’s a lot of expectations that come along with being a Kansas Jayhawk, but that’s why I wanted to come here. I feel like one of the best players in the country.
“So if you feel that way, why not come to the winningest program and try to win a national championship?”