Iowa’s men’s basketball team could have used more toughness last season, a little grit and guile at crunch time. Trey Dickerson looks to be an upgrade.
“I look at toughness as leading, not being scared in clutch moments,” said Dickerson, a fleet 6-foot junior college point guard who signed a letter of intent with the Hawkeyes on Wednesday. “Making shots in the clutch or making the right pass. Getting defensive stops. And not being afraid to make a play. That’s how I look at it.”
The well-traveled Dickerson comes to Iowa from Williston State in Williston, N.D., where he was a third-team junior college all-American after averaging 19.7 points and 5.7 assists for a 25-6 team. Iowa will be the sixth school, in the fifth state, Dickerson’s basketball career has taken him since his freshman year of high school. And he’s ready to settle down.
“Definitely looking forward to it,” Dickerson said.
This native of Queens, N.Y., has three seasons of eligibility remaining. Maybe he can match the success of Val Barnes, who came to Iowa from junior college with three seasons still in the bank in 1990-91 and scored 1,181 points. Barnes fit perfectly into the fast-breaking, offense-first style of basketball Tom Davis coached. Now comes Dickerson, who seems a good fit for the up-tempo basketball Fran McCaffery coaches.
“When I made my visit (in early March), I sat down with coach McCaffery and we watched a lot of film,” Dickerson said. “And I watched how they played. I could really see myself playing in that style.”
Dickerson had scheduled visits to Nebraska and Alabama-Birmingham and was offered scholarships by Washington, Washington State, Arkansas, St. Louis and others. But Iowa was his only visit.
“I knew this was the right fit,” Dickerson said.
McCaffery spent the better part of two years recruiting Tyler Ulis from Marian Catholic in suburban Chicago, another point guard who looked to fit perfectly. Things looked good until Kentucky got involved at the last minute.
Iowa assistant Andrew Francis, another native New Yorker, had been keeping tabs on Dickerson while the Ulis saga unfolded. Francis saw a point guard who played fast but not out of control. A guy who was more than willing to set up his teammates but could get to the basket if needed. A guy who played with some toughness.
“It really depends on how a defense plays you,” Dickerson said. “I like to see my teammates score. Because as a point guard, your main job is to keep them happy. But if I’ve got to score, then I’ll score it.”
That should sound good to shooters such as Josh Oglesby, Jarrod Uthoff, Mike Gesell, Peter Jok and incoming freshman Brady Ellingson, who should get plenty of open looks when Dickerson penetrates the defense.
Defensively, Dickerson has the quickness it takes to play in the Big Ten.
“Right now I’d say I’m pretty good at it,” Dickerson said. “The main thing with me is getting stronger because I know the Big Ten is a physical conference. I’m quick enough to stay in front of people.”
Dickerson played his freshman season at Christ the King High School in New York. Then he attended Montclair Prep in Van Nuys, Calif., for two years until that school closed. After one season at Price High School in Los Angeles, Dickerson enrolled at God’s Academy, a Texas prep school.
“I was two points shy on my ACT, so I went there to raise my score,” Dickerson said.
He accomplished that and decided to attend Murray State. A few weeks into his first summer there, he decided he had made a mistake and ended up at Williston State. And now Iowa. He plans to move to Iowa City in June.
Dickerson’s signing means McCaffery has two scholarships to give. He indicated last week that he might hold one, which came open after redshirt freshman forward Kyle Meyer announced he would transfer. The Hawkeyes signed Ellingson and forward Dominique Uhl last fall.
Willie Atwood, a forward from Connors State in Oklahoma and another third-team junior college all-American, is a player Iowa covets. Atwood, a close friend of Dickerson’s, has visited Iowa and Florida State and will visit Arizona State this weekend.
“Iowa’s still in the picture,” Dickerson said. “He likes all three schools a lot. After he visits Arizona State, he’ll talk it over with his family and decide.”
Atwood, like Dickerson, would bring an element of toughness to a Hawkeye team that has already landed in some preseason top-25 polls.
Rick Brown, a 10-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year, covers Hawkeye football and basketball for the Register. Follow him on Twitter: @ByRickBrown.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball