Hunter Dickinson withdraws from NBA draft, returning to Michigan for sophomore season

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Michigan basketball just received some big news.

Star center Hunter Dickinson announced he will withdraw from the NBA draft and return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season.

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The news comes just over a month after Dickinson entered the draft in late May and signed with an agent, while still giving himself the option of returning to college.

Dickinson had until July 7, seven days after the draft combine, to withdraw from the draft.

His announcement means that Michigan will have one of the top centers in the nation next season — and a key component of last year's team that won the Big Ten title and reached the Elite Eight.

The 7-foot-1 center was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and an Associated Press second-team All-American after averaging a team-high 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. In a freshman season that saw him named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week seven times, Dickinson anchored Michigan's offense and defense, establishing himself as a scoring threat down low while protecting the rim on the other end of the floor. He put together six double-doubles and scored 20-plus points five times.

Despite his success as a freshman, Dickinson was not commonly listed on mock drafts; he also did not earn an invite to the draft combine, instead participating at the G League Elite Camp.

Michigan center Hunter Dickinson shoots the ball against UCLA forward Kenneth Nwuba during the second half of the Elite Eight game in the NCAA tournament on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Indianapolis.
Michigan center Hunter Dickinson shoots the ball against UCLA forward Kenneth Nwuba during the second half of the Elite Eight game in the NCAA tournament on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Indianapolis.

Dickinson will be one of two starters to return from last season's team, along with guard Eli Brooks, who chose to take advantage of the NCAA's extra year of eligibility that was granted to winter athletes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Brandon Johns Jr., a senior forward, also has starting experience and stepped into the lineup when Isaiah Livers suffered a season-ending stress injury to his right foot at the Big Ten tournament.

Monday morning, grad transfer guard DeVante' Jones announced he would pull his name from the NBA draft and return to college. Jones transferred to Michigan from Coastal Carolina this offseason while simultaneously entering his name for the draft. He, along with Dickinson, former point guard Mike Smith and former forward Chaundee Brown, attended the G League Elite Camp after failing to secure an invite to the draft combine.

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Michigan Wolverines content.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball's Hunter Dickinson pulls out from 2021 NBA draft