Hunter Dickinson returning to Kansas basketball becomes more likely with new injury

Feb 12, 2024; Lubbock, Texas, USA;  Kansas Jayhawks center Hunter Dickinson (1)
Feb 12, 2024; Lubbock, Texas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Hunter Dickinson (1) / Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

While the dislocated shoulder star center Hunter Dickinson suffered could derail the Kansas basketball season, there might be one positive Jayhawks fans can pull from the entire situation.

Dickinson will likely, at the minimum, miss the Big 12 Tournament and potentially March Madness after he had to pop his shoulder back into place on Saturday. The 7-foot-2 transfer is averaging 18 points and 10.2 rebounds in 31 games played, recently taking home Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and being named to the All-Big 12 First Team.

He is the most pivotal player to KU's success, and the team might be a first or second-round exit if he does not return this season. However, there has been plenty of discussion regarding whether he will exercise his eligibility for a super senior year, and the shoulder injury could improve the chances we see him in a Jayhawk uniform in 2024-25.

Will Hunter Dickinson return to Kansas basketball next year?

It was already considered probable that Dickinson would return to Kansas next year because of his lack of attention from NBA scouts. Now, that possibility seems even more likely with his dislocated shoulder.

For one, Dickinson is simply not a highly touted draft prospect because his game suits college much better. He is a mediocre defensive player and does not possess the athleticism that most NBA big men do. Spending one more year with the Jayhawks could give him a chance to raise his draft stock.

With the injury, Dickinson might need to consider undergoing surgery depending on the structural damage the KU medical staff finds from his MRI. If that is the case, he will have a long recovery period and likely won't be able to undergo private workouts or perform to the best of his ability.

Finally, Dickinson has stated many times that his goal when he committed to Kansas was to win a national championship. While that goal might not seem attainable this season, it could be a year from now if Kansas puts together a better roster in the offseason. It would make sense if Dickinson did not want to end his collegiate career being injured.

At the end of the day, Dickinson might test the NBA Draft waters, but this injury could ensure he spends one more year under head coach Bill Self.