College athletes have busy lives, and the Michigan Wolverines are no exception. They have a bunch of things at once. Juggling classes, a hectic practice schedule, and long road trips all while being in the spotlight.
Being in the spotlight can be a lot for an athlete’s mental health, because ultimately with fame comes a lot of hate, especially in the social media era. Last week, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis posted a letter from a fan that could be best be described as hate mail.
You wonder why players experience mental health issues and problems. We are going to continue to get better as a team as we continue this journey. Thank you @TimWeaver20 for your words of encouragement! Go Hoosiers! #iubb pic.twitter.com/ubnVlluMpw— TJD (@TrayceJackson) January 4, 2023
When asked about that letter, Michigan's Hunter Dickinson said he receives a lot of hate like that as well, whether it be physical letters or on social media. He said that having an outlet now through a podcast with Barstool Sports has helped him manage all that hate.
“I think I get a couple of those a day at this point,” Dickinson said. “That’s one positive that no one can take away from my podcast is I’ve been able to handle hate mail a lot better. I don’t really look at comments anymore, especially on Twitter, so that’s one positive I can take away from the podcast. Those are pretty common for me, especially after Saturday’s game.”
He went on to say it didn’t used to bother him as much as it did when he was younger.
“I think two years ago when I was a freshman, that would have bothered me a lot,” Dickinson said. “I think especially now with the podcast, realizing how stupid people can be and how stupid Twitter is. "(When) somebody attacks you personally, it’s really hard for you not to want to react, but that’s just the life we live as athletes who are always in the spotlight. People say ‘oh he should never respond, he should be the bigger man’, it’s easier to say that when you’re not getting attacked like that every day.”
Preparing for Iowa
The Iowa Hawkeyes (10-6, 2-3) have the same amount of losses as Michigan, but are currently playing some real good basketball. Last week, they upset No. 15 Indiana at home before beating Rutgers in Piscataway.
The Hawkeyes are led by Kris Murray, a junior forward who initially entered the NBA Draft after last season but ultimately decided to return to school. He’s leading Iowa in points (20.9) and rebounds (9.6) per game.
Dickinson said that in practice the last few days, the biggest emphasis has been trying to stop him.
“He’s not only one of the best players in the Big Ten, but in the country,” Dickinson said. “(We’re) trying to limit him as much as possible, throw a couple bodies on him. But also, the amount of movement they have as a team. Iowa is known for being really good offensively...in the half court, we have to go out there, not get bored, and try to play defense throughout the whole (length) of the shot clock, just make sure we’re staying solid.”
Iowa has a lot of size throughout their playing rotation, and freshman point guard Dug McDaniel says he wants his team to try to exploit that as much as they can.
“We have an advantage in terms of quickness,” McDaniel said. “If we get downhill and hit the gaps and make them collapse and kick it out to our shooters, that could give us an advantage in the game. We got to attack those taller guys and create for others, I feel like that’s our game-plan.”
It’s only mid-January, but the conference standings are real tight right now. Dickinson said that the Wolverines can’t pencil in wins in and losses with how well-rounded the Big Ten is.
“I already know the conference race is going to be crazy,” Dickinson said. “You already see how many upsets there are...there’s going to be a lot of teams in that 10-10, 9-11 range. It’s just a matter of us taking it one game at a time and trying to beat the team that’s opposite from us.”