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Hunter Dickinson earns high praise on all-Big 12 preseason hoops list

Teammates Dajuan Harris Jr. and Kevin McCullar Jr. also earn preseason honors from Big 12 coaches

3 min read
Kansas big man Hunter Dickinson listens for instructions from the bench during the Late Night in the Phog scrimmage at Allen Fieldhouse on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. [Chance Parker photo]

Still weeks before playing in his first official game as a Jayhawk, Kansas big man Hunter Dickinson already is making history.

Dickinson, who transferred to KU from Michigan in the offseason, became the first player in Big 12 Conference history to earn preseason player of the year AND newcomer of the year honors in a vote by the league’s coaches.

He becomes the 11th Jayhawk to earn the Big 12 preseason player of the year honor and the fifth Kansas player to be named the conference’s preseason newcomer of the year.

The breakdown of Dickinson’s fit at Kansas has been a prominent storyline throughout the college hoops offseason. Many see the 7-foot-2 center as the perfect player in the Bill Self system, and the expectation from coast to coast is that Dickinson will be in line to put up massive numbers and rack up all kinds of honors this season.

These are the first two on that list, but, if history has taught us anything at Kansas, it’s that preseason honors and awards are not at all what the Jayhawks covet.

Dickinson was joined on the five-man first team all-Big 12 preseason squad by teammate Dajuan Harris Jr., and that duo has talked throughout the offseason about how much better they can make each other this season.

The other three members of the first team were: Baylor guard L.J. Cryer, TCU forward Emanuel Miller and Texas guard Max Abmas, an offseason transfer from Oral Roberts.

KU senior Kevin McCullar Jr., was the lone Jayhawk to earn an honorable mention nod, and Baylor forward Ja’Kobe Walter was picked as the preseason freshman of the year.

“I appreciate the coaches recognizing myself, Dajuan and Kevin,” Dickinson said in a KU news release announcing the honors. “It says a lot about the potential of our team. No we need to go prove it.”

Dickinson’s first official taste of life inside Allen Fieldhouse came last week, at Late Night in the Phog. And it was clear that his first experience of the annual event did not disappoint.

“Man, it was so fun,” Dickinson said. “It was just a joy to be out there, seeing the crowd, seeing the fans so excited for KU basketball was just a great feeling. It was a great way to start off the season. I can’t wait for the first game, the first exhibition in Allen. It’s going to be a special year.”

Preseason All-Big 12 Team (listed alphabetically by school)

L.J. Cryer, Houston, G, Sr.
Hunter Dickinson, Kansas, C, Sr.
Dajuan Harris Jr., Kansas, G, RS-Jr.
Emanuel Miller, TCU, F, Sr.
Max Abmas, Texas, G, Gr.

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school): Jalen Bridges (Baylor), RayJ Dennis (Baylor), Ja’Kobe Walter (Baylor), Jamal Shead (Houston), Kevin McCullar Jr. (Kansas), Arthur Kaluma (Kansas State), Tylor Perr (Kansas State), Dylan Disu (Texas), Tyrese Hunter (Texas), Dillon Mitchell (Texas), Jesse Edwards (West Virginia).

Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

Past KU Preseason Big 12 Players of the Year

Jacque Vaughn (1996-97)

Raef LaFrentz (1997-98)

Wayne Simien (2004-05)

Brandon Rush and Julian Wright (2006-07)

Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins (2009-10)

Devonte’ Graham (2017-18)

Udoka Azubuike (2019-20)

Remy Martin (2021-22)

Past Kansas Preseason Big 12 Newcomers of the Year

Mario Little (2008-09)

Tarik Black (2013-14)

Malik Newman (2017-18)

Dedric Lawson (2018-19)

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