Although Kansas basketball is riding a 7-game winning streak with two midseason All-Americans leading the way, Hunter Dickinson has not looked his best in the past few weeks. The highly coveted big man who entered the transfer portal this offseason began the season playing better basketball than anyone in the country. But since December, he has taken a step back.
Through his first seven games donning the crimson and blue, Dickinson averaged 21.7 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 steals on 67.0/61.5/73.3 shooting splits. Dating back to KU's marquee victory over UConn, his averages have dipped to 13.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks on 50.8/33.3/66.7 splits.
While those numbers are not inherently terrible, there is a significant drop-off in most departments, especially in his efficiency. He was missing the energy and grit he played with in the season's first month. Bill Self attributed that to the long stretch of games after the Jayhawks narrowly defeated Yale last week.
"To be honest with you, I thought he looked tired,” the Hall of Fame head coach said about Dickinson. However, the 7-foot-2 Jayhawk believes the team's Christmas break — or 8-day stretch between games — has invigorated his game once again.
“It was amazing. I think I really needed that break bad," Dickinson told the media. "I just feel like my headspace, and where I was at, I feel like that break — going home, just not thinking about basketball, not thinking about anything for two, three days, just being with family — I thought was really great for me... having that reset, coming in with a new mind, I feel very refreshed.”
Seeing the Dickinson that Kansas basketball fans saw against Kentucky when he posted a 27-point, 21-rebound double-double would be a welcome sight for the Jayhawk faithful. Hopefully, the extended rest has given him more energy heading into conference play.