Q&A: New Hawkeye ready to fit right in
Following the Hawkeyes’ 66-63 home loss to Illinois on March 8, junior-college point guard Trey Dickerson informed Iowa that he was going to join Fran McCaffery’s program for the 2014-15 season. Along with high-school seniors Dominique Uhl and Brady Ellingson, Dickerson became the third member of the incoming Hawkeye recruiting class. A New York City native, Dickerson spent the past year averaging 19.8 points and 5.7 assists for Williston State College in North Dakota. The 6- 1 guard spoke with TheDaily Iowan about his decision to enroll at Iowa and what he intends to bring to the men’s basketball program.
DI: How does your skill set fit into this Iowa team and, for those who haven’t seen you play, how would you describe your game?
Dickerson: I think I fit in perfectly with the Iowa team because there are a bunch of shooters. I see myself creating plays off the dribble, finding guys where they’re comfortable and making shots. I look at myself as a floor general that can score but one that can also lead this team and lead this group. The style of play definitely drew me here. The pick and rolls and letting guys run basically. That’s my advantage.
DI: Moving from juco to Big Ten basketball, what is that feeling like, because it has to have been a crazy and hectic past few years for you?
Dickerson: It really does feel good knowing everything’s finally paying off and that I get to play at the highest level possible in college basketball, which is the Big Ten.
DI: What do you think the biggest differences are moving from junior college to your long-term program as opposed to coming here straight from high school? Does it give you an advantage because you played another year at a higher level?
Dickerson: It definitely gives me an advantage because when I talked to Coach McCaffery, he said his expectations are higher now than if I had come out of high school. If I came out of high school, he would have to let me learn the system and everything. But with me coming out of juco, he basically said I played another year of college basketball, just at a little lower of a level. Now, his expectations are higher for me next season.
DI: Shifting to the recruiting process, how early was Iowa in on you and when did you know this was the spot for you to continue your basketball career?
Dickerson: I was talking to Iowa in the early recruiting time period, but I was talking to a couple schools. I realized it was the school for me probably around January or February. It was the relationship with Coach McCaffery and Coach [Andrew] Francis. I would talk to Coach Francis every day.
DI: What would you say contributed to the final decision then? Was it the relationship you built with the coaching staff and members of the team or is it a combination of a lot of things?
Dickerson: What went into it was definitely the relationship with the coaches. And on my visit, I felt like I was around a bunch of family. I bonded well with the guys on the team. I’ve known Peter Jok since my sophomore year of high school being at Nike Jamborees. Those were basically huge parts of it.
DI: You’ve been trying to recruit fellow juco standout Willie Atwood to join you here. Can you describe the relationship you have with him and what do you think the odds are that you’ll be able to persuade him to be a Hawkeye?
Dickerson: Willie and I have a very tight relationship. We talk every day — two or three times a day we talk. I’ve been recruiting him to come to Iowa because I know it’s a good fit for both of us. We can really use him and his toughness next year at the 4-man spot. Right now, I think Iowa’s definitely in the top two, along with Virginia Tech. He’s talking really highly of both.
DI: You were possibly the biggest advocate behind the “#TeamPat” campaign on Twitter in honor of Patrick McCaffery (Fran McCaffery’s 14-year old son) after he learned the tumor removed from his thyroid was malignant. How much did that have to do with the relationship you’ve built with Coach McCaffery and what do you think that says about him that you’re leading the charge of support for his son even though he hasn’t even coached you yet?
Dickerson: He’s about to be my head coach, and that’s just doing the right thing. Right now, it’s a difficult time for him and his family. He’s going through that while he’s supposed to be coaching. Really, you just want to show him that you have his support. Pat is really young. For him to be going through what he’s going through right now is really sad. I’m just trying to get everybody to come together as a family, cheer him up, and hopefully get him through it.
DI: Where is this program headed with you and some of the other members of the team maturing?
Dickerson: I’m going to move out there in June and take summer classes and just work out the whole summer. I’m definitely excited about it.
I think we’re going to make a really good run next year. A lot of people are worried because we’re losing Marble and Melsahn [Basabe], but I think we’re going to be fine. I think we’re really going to do well next year.
DI: Guys such as Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe, and Zach McCabe were crucial parts of Iowa getting back on track and into the NCAA Tournament. Even though you won’t necessarily be teammates with those guys, is there anything you can take from their contributions as you join this program?
Dickerson: Those guys basically opened it up for us. That’s how I look at it. They got us back to the tournament, and we want to keep it going. They worked hard to get to the tournament, and they had a lot of passion. We just have to keep it going and can’t let them down. They built the program back up in the right direction. We don’t want it to go back down.
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