Hunter Dickinson, a three-time All-Big Ten performer and the top-rated player in the transfer portal, just wrapped up his official visit to Kentucky. Taking place from April 23-25, it was his second official, joining Kansas last week. He also took unofficial visits to Maryland and Georgetown, with another official scheduled to Villanova this weekend.
His trip to Lexington comes on the heels of a virtual meeting with John Calipari and the Kentucky staff on April 5, followed by the Hall of Fame head coach flying to Michigan last Tuesday to meet with the star transfer in person. The meeting lasted two hours at a local private airport, followed by an official visit to UK scheduled for this past weekend.
Leading up to the trip, sources told KSR that Kentucky would be prepared to take Dickinson’s commitment if he was ready to come, regardless of what happens with Oscar Tshiebwe and his impending NBA Draft decision. The 7-foot-1 center himself made it clear that his interest in the Wildcats was contingent on the former national player of the year leaving — and hinted that his scheduled visit was a result of Calipari assuring him that would be the case.
“We talked about that situation occurring. We talked about that situation obviously because that’s very contingent on — even if I was interested in them, that’s why I wanted to meet with them, to talk about that because that has a lot to do with me even being interested in them at all. We talked about that,” Dickinson said. “I don’t want to say what he’s doing because that’s his business but obviously whatever we talked about was good enough for me to take the visit, so I guess that’s news right there.”
So how did things go this weekend? Should fans expect a commitment anytime soon? It’s tricky.
Let’s start with the basics. Dickinson’s trip “went well, like all visits,” a source tells KSR. The Michigan transfer and his family were guarded and intentionally kept things close to vest — as they’ve done with every visit thus far — but made it clear they enjoyed their time in Lexington.
There was seven-figure buzz regarding Dickinson’s NIL ask down in Atlanta for EYBL Session I this past weekend from schools familiar with this recruitment. At the conclusion of the 7-foot-1 center’s visit, though, sources tell KSR that no such demand was made. Conversations regarding NIL possibilities took place and Kentucky highlighted what could be on the table if he comes in and produces the way both sides expect, exceeding the seven-figure threshold. Like with all portal targets and recruits, it’s about organic financial opportunities that come with being a Wildcat, not a name-your-price pitch other programs attempt. Those talks were positive and productive.
There were also no demands regarding minutes, role or usage, another positive. Dickinson is going to obviously play wherever he lands and he’ll expect to be put in position to succeed, but he wasn’t looking for specific guarantees from the Kentucky staff. It was a greater emphasis on how the two sides could help each other accomplish their goals together — Wildcats winning games, Dickinson producing and growing his brand on the big stage while working toward his professional future. He’d like to win a national title at his next stop, something Kentucky clearly hopes to accomplish, as well.
Other programs had done some negative recruiting on the Wildcats’ roster and staff leading up to the visit, something Kentucky was comfortable addressing head-on. Dickinson was interested in learning about fit and his potential role while also just getting to know the staff and familiarizing himself with campus — his second trip to Lexington after taking an unofficial to the school back in high school.
Was it enough to push the standout transfer to a commitment? Nothing is imminent, multiple sources tell KSR, as things are expected to extend beyond his upcoming trip to Villanova. He previously hinted at an additional visit from there, but the sense on Kentucky’s side is that an announcement could come early next week. Nothing has been finalized either way, but that’s when movement is expected.
Dickinson wasn’t looking to be overwhelmed with a flashy blue-carpet rollout in Lexington — or any visit, for that matter. He’s just wanting to find a school that checks the most boxes for him at his next stop, nothing more, nothing less.
His camp is intentionally keeping things tight, so you won’t get any rumored favorites or leanings here. But at the end of the day, Kentucky was pleased with its pitch and feels it’s got a shot following a positive and productive trip.
Now the wait continues — but not too much longer.
Cal and Dickinson at Jeff Ruby’s
Ryan Lemond was sent (and somehow withheld, then deleted, then recovered) a photo of John Calipari and Hunter Dickinson arriving together at Jeff Ruby’s this past weekend — a staple of official visits at Kentucky.
It was one of very few pictures caught of the 7-foot-1 center in Lexington — hence the humor in Ryan deleting it without thought, assuming it had already made its rounds.
That led to some fun photoshops from fans joking they had seen Calipari and the prized transfer target all over, ranging from the root beer stand in Corbin to horse farms in Versailles to a Jersey Shore pier.
BBN is ridiculous (and the best).
The post How Hunter Dickinson’s visit to Kentucky went (and what’s next)… appeared first on On3.