Notre Dame Basketball

ISD INTEL | Sizing Up The Race For The 7-Footer

October 14, 2019

In continuing to check in with sources around Notre Dame’s pursuit of Hunter Dickinson, it’s hard to get a feel on where things really stand and it’s likely few – if any – outside the 5-star 2020 Maryland center’s innermost circle have a true handle on things.

As I reported yesterday, Dickinson’s official visit this weekend went smoothly. With college basketball’s new rules, this was actually his second official to South Bend. Given that and the fact that Notre Dame has been recruiting him for years, I think a nice, easy visit was the best-case scenario for the Irish. I wasn’t anticipating some mind-blowing visit. That could have actually raised more questions than anything, in my opinion.

Instead, the trip seems to have confirmed much of what Dickinson already knew about Notre Dame and what’s attracted him to the school for so long in the first place.

If he’s enjoyed his experience at DeMatha Catholic – and it would seem he has given that he was elected president of his class – Notre Dame could be the logical next step. Also, the fact that the Irish have been building relationships with Dickinson and his family since the beginning of high school coupled with the connections that Mike Brey and Rod Balanis have at DeMatha must help when it comes to evaluating the trust factor.

Like I said yesterday, next up is an official visit to Duke. Duke is obviously Duke and under no circumstances should Coach K and the Blue Devils be overlooked in a recruiting battle. But they also entered this race at the very end and only after another five-star center, Walker Kessler, made an unexpected commitment to North Carolina a couple weeks back.

Will that factor into Dickinson’s decision? It probably will on some level. The better question is how much?

I know one guy who thinks it could be enough of a factor that the Irish’s biggest threat here could actually be Michigan. The Wolverines haven’t recruited Dickinson as long as the Irish, but they’ve been recruiting him longer than Duke.

It’d be easy for Juwan Howard to make the case that Dickinson is a Plan A guy – which he’s always been for Notre Dame – given that the offer went out in June, about a month after Howard was named Michigan’s new head coach. Howard is also a personable guy and was a skilled big man himself, so that has to be somewhat attractive to Dickinson, but it’d still be a bit of a gamble to go with somebody who hasn’t served as head coach for a single game in his career yet.

Dickinson took a visit to Ann Arbor last month, but that may have been Michigan’s last chance to make a big impression. I continue to hear this weekend’s trip to Durham is likely to be Dickinson’s last one.

Will a decision come shortly afterward? Nobody I’ve talked to seems to know.

One source echoed one of my favorite phrases in situations like this.

“We shall see.”

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ISD INTEL | Sizing Up The Race For The 7-Footer

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