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Hunter Dickinson explains how NIL was a huge reason for return to Michigan

The junior big man was refreshingly honest on a podcast this week.

Michigan v Villanova Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

On Sunday, Hunter Dickinson posted a succinct, clear message on Instagram: “I ain’t done yet.” An enormous boon to the Michigan basketball program, Dickinson’s return marks a new era in college basketball as a whole.

Dickinson joined Brian Boesch on the University of Michigan’s “Defend the Block” podcast this week to expand on his decision.

“I just didn’t feel like I was done with college basketball yet. I still had more out there to prove, and more to work on,” said Dickinson. “I feel like when I go to the NBA eventually — I feel like I could have went last year and could have went this year — I think the biggest thing for me is that when I get there, I want to be as ready as possible for the next level.”

It’s worth noting the huge role that NIL played in Dickinson’s return. In an era where players can be paid handsomely to play in the G-League or overseas, not having to sacrifice all income whatsoever was appealing to him.

“If you would have said at the beginning of the year, asked me if I would have come back for another year, I would have told you ‘No way,’” Dickinson said. “I kind of had a feeling, the way NIL was going, and how I just still really liked college, that the door was always open for me to come back.

“I think with NIL, that door definitely opened up for me to come back, and I’m definitely excited to work another year under coach Howard.”

He also spoke about his college basketball experience and aspirations at Michigan.

“Being so close my freshman year, and then making that really fun run last year just adds to wanting to come back and hopefully try to break through and get to that Final Four and National Championship game,” Dickinson said. “I feel like we’re really close. Basketball is a game of inches, especially in the tournament.

“That legacy part does mean something to me.”

Dickinson has already compiled a long list of accomplishments with a regular season Big Ten title as well as second-team All American accolades. A third season in Ann Arbor will allow him the opportunity to further his legacy at Michigan.

Dickinson’s return allows for more development time out of incoming freshman Tarris Reed at the center position. In addition, it provides a veteran presence for a team that has lost several seniors in Eli Brookes, DeVante’ Jones and Brandon Johns.

With both Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan entering their names into the NBA Draft with a chance of returning, the roster is still in flux heading into the summer. But having Dickinson officially back is a huge sigh of relief for Michigan fans everywhere.