Hunter Dickinson Will Return to Michigan for Sophomore Season, Forgo 2021 NBA Draft

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2021

Michigan center Hunter Dickinson plays during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Michigan center Hunter Dickinson announced Tuesday he will return to the Wolverines for his sophomore season rather than entering the 2021 NBA draft.

Dickinson made it official with the following tweet:

Hunter Dickinson @H_Dickinson24

One last ride… <a href="https://t.co/obx1fqbxqE">pic.twitter.com/obx1fqbxqE</a>

The 7'1" big man also spoke with Jeff Goodman of Stadium and explained why he decided to remove himself from draft consideration:

Rob Dauster @RobDauster

EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Dickinson joins <a href="https://twitter.com/GoodmanHoops?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GoodmanHoops</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/TheFieldOf68?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheFieldof68</a> to discuss the reasons for his decision to return to Michigan for another season.<br><br>Hunter will be a consensus preseason All-American on a top ten team. <a href="https://t.co/8E70taoHT3">pic.twitter.com/8E70taoHT3</a>

Dickinson called returning to Michigan the "safest approach" and the "best option" for him rather than entering the draft.

The Alexandria, Virginia, native was a key performer for head coach Juwan Howard's team as a freshman, leading the Wolverines in scoring (14.1 points per game), rebounding (7.4 RPG) and blocks (1.4 BPG).

Dickinson was also a highly efficient offensive player, shooting 59.8 percent from the floor and making a solid 73.9 percent of his attempts from the free-throw line.

He only attempted four three-pointers last season but noted that NBA teams were impressed with his shooting in workouts and want to see him expand his range during the 2021-22 season.

With Dickinson leading the way, Michigan was the No. 1 team in the nation for a period of time last season finishing with a 23-5 record overall and a 14-3 record in the Big Ten, which was good for the Big Ten regular-season championship.

Michigan was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and made it all the way to the Elite Eight where it narrowly lost 51-49 to UCLA.

The Wolverines have lost some key players to this point from last year's team in Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner, Mike Smith, Chaundee Brown and Austin Davis, but the return of Dickinson gives them a go-to player to lean on.

Michigan will also see the return of Eli Brooks and Brandon Johns Jr. as well as the arrival of some highly touted recruits including Caleb Houstan, who is ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in the 2021 class by 247Sports.

Dickinson said he was told by NBA teams that he would likely be a second-round pick had he entered the 2021 draft, but he believes he is a first-round talent.

With another productive season at Michigan in 2021-22, Dickinson can go a long way toward solidifying himself as a first-round pick in the future.