Syracuse Basketball: Zoom with Hunter Dickinson is highly encouraging

Syracuse basketball, Hunter Dickinson (Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Hunter Dickinson (Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Syracuse basketball coaches were expected to hold a Zoom meeting with Michigan big-man transfer Hunter Dickinson on Wednesday.

College basketball insider Marty Mush first reported this development via Twitter on Wednesday. I confirmed Mush’s report with a source of mine familiar with the situation.

This is an encouraging development for the Orange. Not too long ago, Dickinson surprised some college basketball observers when he said that he would enter the NCAA’s transfer portal following his junior season at Big Ten Conference member Michigan.

The 7-foot-1 center, who was an All-American as a freshman, is one of the top big men around the country. Multiple recruiting services currently view Hunter Dickinson as the No. 1 overall transfer across the country at this juncture.

Syracuse basketball faces heavy competition for Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson.

Lately, as national recruiting analysts and scouts have discussed Dickinson’s recruitment after he entered the transfer portal, the Orange’s name has come up on numerous occasions.

There are some connections between him and the Syracuse basketball coaching staff. For one, the ‘Cuse did offer Hunter Dickinson a scholarship when he starred for DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., as a four-star, top-50 national prospect in the 2020 class.

In grassroots basketball while in high school, Dickinson was a standout for the Washington, D.C.-based Team Takeover in Nike’s EYBL league. New Syracuse basketball assistant coach Brenden Straughn was the associate head coach of Team Takeover when Dickinson and his teammates won the prestigious Peach Jam crown in 2018.

Like Straughn, new Orange head coach Adrian Autry has deep recruiting ties in the fertile D.C. market, and he was a coach for Team Takeover a while back when it was known as Triple Threat.

What’s more, there is likely ample playing time available at the center spot for the ‘Cuse looking ahead to the 2023-24 stanza.

Syracuse basketball senior Jesse Edwards said earlier this week that he has entered the transfer portal, and the other three centers on the 2023-24 roster for the Orange include a sophomore who played spot minutes in 2022-23, a freshman and a senior in high school.

Other suitors potentially in the mix for Hunter Dickinson, per a variety of reports, include Maryland, Georgetown, Arkansas, Kentucky, Villanova, Kansas, Virginia and Duke.

Maryland figures to be a strong contender for him, given the Terrapins are a local team and also recently hired Mike Jones as an assistant coach. Jones was Dickinson’s head coach at DeMatha Catholic.

The Hoyas, another local group for Dickinson, haven’t been good in recent years, but new head coach Ed Cooley, the former boss at Providence, has been faring quite well on the recruiting trail of late. The other possible suitors noted above are all excellent programs that recruit well.

My sense is that Syracuse basketball may be considered a long shot to prevail for Hunter Dickinson, who is from Alexandria, Va. That being said, holding a Zoom meeting with him on Wednesday is a good first step.

With Jesse Edwards in the transfer portal, it does seem that the Orange coaching staff is searching for a veteran big man. Dickinson is one option. Another is North Texas transfer Abou Ousmane, who plans to take an official visit to Syracuse basketball next week, according to college basketball insider Adam Zagoria.

The 6-foot-10 Ousmane, a power forward/center who is from Brooklyn, N.Y., had a solid junior season during the 2022-23 term for the Mean Green, averaging 11.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per game for a North Texas squad that went 31-7 overall and captured the NIT title last month.

Next. Syracuse Orange: Adam Weitsman departing ‘Cuse NIL is a big-time blow. dark