Ezra Amacher PGU
is counting down our 25 greatest Wildcats of all time. To see the honorable mention and how the rankings are formulated, click here. #25: Hassan Adams (35.08) #24: Sean Rooks (35.29) #23: Anthony Cook (35.74) #22: Al Fleming (37.31) #21: Chase Budinger (37.52) #20: Loren Woods (37.57) #19: Michael Wright (37.85) #18: Jud Buechler (38.07) #17: Salim Stoudamire (39.15) #16: Derrick Williams (40.31) #15: Bob Elliott (41.86) #14: Channing Frye (42.13) #13: Richard Jefferson (43.86) #12: Luke Walton (45.15) #11: Gilbert Arenas (45.44) #10: Chris Mills (45.98) #9: Michael Dickerson (46.10) Time as a Wildcat
Michael Dickerson epitomized what Arizona basketball was during the 1990s. He played hoops with an quiet confidence but had the skill to back it up. Whether it was nailing contested shots, stutter-stepping less agile defenders, or taking it to the rim, Dickerson had a complete offensive game.
As a freshman, the Seattle native provided a key contribution off the bench. Although Dickerson only averaged three field goal attempts per game, his .538 shooting percentage gave the coaching staff confidence that he could one day become the centerpiece of the offense.
Although Dickerson’ field goal percentage dropped the next season, he established himself as a reliable scorer, averaging nearly 12 points. The 6’5 wing developed multiple offensive facets as a sophomore that would take him from good to great in the upcoming season.
There were high expectations for the Cats in the fall of 1996 but no one considered them pre-season national title contenders. However, on November 22 in a matchup against 5th ranked North Carolina, the country got a glimpse of the potential of Arizona and Dickerson.
After adding more strength and working on consistency in his shooting, the junior lead the team in scoring that night with 31 points, en route to an 83-72 Arizona victory.
Dickerson continued to put up terrific numbers but Arizona didn’t play particularly well in conference play, finishing in the middle of the Pac-10 and was rewarded with a No. 4 seed.
The six games that followed will be cherished forever by Cats fans. The team fought off near upset bids by South Alabama and the College of Charleston before going through what might be the most incredible stretch of performances in NCAA Tournament.
Without Dickerson’s 20 points against the Kansas Jayhawks, Arizona’s chances of getting past the Sweet 16 would have been much more bleak. But in the Cats’ next three upsets of No. 1 seeds, Dickerson combined for 20 points, forcing his teammates to step up to the plate. Fortunately, they did.
Right then and there, Dickerson’s legacy in Tucson was sealed, even though he went through one of the worst slumps of his career at the worst time -- 2-18 in the Final Four.
Dickerson did his best to help the Cats defend its title the following season, averaging 18 points by shooting 51%. In the Elite Eight, a tricky Rick Majerus defense confused the Arizona shooters, ending the chance for back-to-back championships. Career After Arizona
Following two prolific upperclassman seasons in college, Dickerson was the 14th overall selection of 1998 NBA Draft, selected by the Rockets. He played one lockout-shortened season with Houston where he 11 points.
Dickerson was then traded to the Grizzlies, who would relocate from Vancouver to Memphis following the 2000-01 season. He averaged 18.2 points his first year with the franchise and then 16.3 points the next season.
Injuries kept Dickerson from ever becoming the same impact player when the Grizzlies moved to the United States, as he played a total of 10 games in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
Although he played for a professional team in Spain in 2009, Dickerson never regained the scoring touch that mesmerized so many fans at both the college and NBA level. Legacy
Plain and simple, Arizona would not have won the 1997 National Championship without Dickerson. That itself is enough to define his legacy as one of the greatest to ever play at the program.
He also earned some hefty accolades including being an All-American Honorable Mention in ‘97 and a Third Team All American in ‘98. Dickerson can also be found throughout the Arizona record book, including his spot on the top 10 career scoring career scorers list at number eight with 1,791 points.