Kentucky basketball should take gamble on Hunter Dickinson

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

In what seems like an ultimatum, coveted transfer Hunter Dickinson said he’d play for Kentucky basketball, dependent on one thing.

Ranked the number one transfer in the nation by most college basketball recruiting experts, Hunter Dickinson has Kentucky basketball on his radar.

Plenty of other major college hoops programs are in pursuit of Dickinson. The list includes Kansas, Georgetown, Maryland, and Syracuse. However, the prospect of Dickinson coming to Lexington is very intriguing.

As it stands, center Oscar Tshiebwe is still in limbo on potentially returning for another year at Kentucky. Tshiebwe and Dickinson are both top five, maybe even the top two pure centers in college basketball.

While a Tshiebwe/Dickinson pairing would be a spectacle to see, the Michigan transfer is shutting down that idea.

On Monday, Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones reported via a source that Dickinson would “love” to play for Kentucky basketball, but only if Tshiebwe doesn’t return for another season.

However, that brings up an interesting way that things would have to happen. As it stands, Tshiebwe is focused on the NBA Draft. If he’s invited to the combine, that is from May 16-18. Tshiebwe would have until May 31st to decide if he wants to return to college.

Dickinson’s time isn’t as valuable.

“Kentucky is hoping Oscar will make his decision this week so that whatever happens they don’t lose Dickinson in the process,” said Jones.

In other words, Kentucky basketball might lose out on Dickinson because of Tshiebwe’s NBA Draft situation.

Kentucky basketball should pursue Dickinson

While the Wildcats can’t and shouldn’t just push Oscar Tshiebwe out the door, it’s at least worth the thought that they should continue to recruit Dickinson.

I’ve mentioned before that Tshiebwe should return to Kentucky instead of staying in the draft. While he’s certainly an NBA prospect, he’s not a lock to be drafted. One team will certainly give him a summer league tryout and he will have a fair shot of making an NBA team. But one more year in Lexington can only help his game.

With that being said, a player like Dickinson is just too hard to give up on. Sure, his ultimatum is an added challenge to the mix, but it shouldn’t push John Calipari away from recruiting him.

If Tshiebwe doesn’t return, Dickinson would move right into that starting spot and pair up with 5-star freshman Aaron Bradshaw.

If Tshiebwe does return, Kentucky wouldn’t lose anything in pursuing Dickinson. It doesn’t hurt to try, especially for a player of that caliber.

What do you think? Should the Wildcats continue to recruit Dickinson?