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Michigan basketball: Preparing for Hunter Dickinson's departure? Visitors incoming ...

Chris Balasby:Chris Balas05/01/23

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Michigan junior center Hunter Dickinson is about to end his second recruitment, having visited Villanova. There are rumblings, in fact, that the Wildcats have moved near the top of his list after visits to Kentucky, Kansas, Georgetown and Maryland, and that we could find out where he’s going as soon as tomorrow.

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Dickinson has friend and former teammate at Villanova in Justin Moore … supposedly, one of his closest friends. When we first got word Dickinson might be leaving — a night before he announced his portal transfer, and unbeknownst to some closest to the Michigan program — the talk had been the two might actually go to Maryland. Moore chose to stay, though, and apparently has been working on his friend.

We’ll see where he ends up, but we know the NIL game is strong among all the contenders, and it appears Michigan is no longer in the mix.

So where do Michigan coaches turn next? The Wolverines are still hopeful on Tennessee’s Olivier Nkamhoua, but the NBA Draft is tops on his list. There was confidence there, but it’s turned into a waiting game. They might have to get creatives, and pursuing Kokomo (Ind.) Kinshasha 5-star big man Flory Bidunga would qualify.

Bidunga, a 6-9, 210-pounder who came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2021, is a 2024 recruit who originally visited Michigan last fall … and he’s planning on visiting again at the end of May. There have been rumblings, though, that he could reclassify to 2023 … and if he did, that would give U-M the front court help it needs next to sophomore Tarris Reed.

Howard watched Bidunga at the recent adidas 3SSB event. On3’s Joe Tipton had Bidunga the No. 2 players in attendance.

Flory Biduga is an absolute monster in the paint, that’s no secret,” he wrote. “The 6-foot-10 center His sheer size, athleticism, and motor were all on display as he attacked the rim. Saturday’s evening game, he also showed some touch around the basket and even knocked in a pair of jump shots. 

“College coaches were lined up to see the five-star big man, including: Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, as well as assistants from Michigan, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Indiana, Florida, and others. 

“Bidunga is also a potential candidate for reclassification, meaning he could move into the 2023 class and we could see him suit up in a college uniform next season.”

Bidunga is ranked as the No. 3 overall player in the 2024 class, according to the On3 Industry Ranking. From his On3 profile:

“The high ceiling [prospect] quickly outgrew every expectation and then some. Bidunga, who began playing basketball in 2019, initially dominated in front of college coaches at the NBPA Top-100 Camp in June 2022. He then became a national sensation at the Adidas 3SSB Open, where Bidunga overpowered the competition and led his Indiana Elite squad to the U16 championship.

‘He’s not as polished as some of the other guys, but he’s got a great body, great hands, great feel for the game, and gives great effort,’ Frank Burlison, a veteran recruiting scout, told The Athletic. ‘And he’s only going to get bigger and stronger the next few years.’

“During the summer before his junior season, he averaged 18.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game on 76.4% shooting for Indiana Elite. Kokomo coach John Peckinpaugh said, “the scary thing is he’s probably a better kid than he is a basketball player. It’s nice to see someone like him see the hard work pay off.”

We’ll continue to monitor this and other Michigan basketball developments in the weeks to come …

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