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Hunter Dickinson returns to Kansas and the Jayhawks are loaded

A year ago, he was the hottest name in the transfer portal, setting up a sweepstakes that produced major buzz in the sport and ended with him leaving for Kansas.

On Friday afternoon, Hunter Dickinson announced that he was staying in college basketball and would return to the Jayhawks for the unfinished business that was the main reason he came to Allen Fieldhouse in the first place.

After Bill Self posted on hour later to put the rumors to rest. :

A first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, Dickinson averaged at least 17.9 points per game over his last three seasons. At Big 12 Media Day last October, Self called the DeMatha Catholic High School big man “the best offensive big man I’ve ever had.”

With 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, along with 55% shooting from the floor and 35% from 3-point range, Dickinson’s productivity speaks for itself. So why come back for 2024-25? On the court, he was a freshman on an Elite Eight team in 2021, but he hasn’t reached the second weekend of the Big Dance in the last two years.

He came to Kansas to win a national championship. But the No. 1 ranked team in the country entering last season failed to make it out of the second weekend due to injury issues.

Dickinson can also capitalize on his name, image and likeness at the university, where his face and brand are currently 10 times more valuable (if not more) than they would be if he tried to take a professional and spending nights in the NBA G. League. Dickinson has multiple endorsement deals and will only be lining up for more, taking the mantle as the sport’s biggest face with Zach Edey having moved on.

With Dickinson returning to a Kansas team that has been one of the biggest winners in the transfer portal, the Jayhawks are complete. Before I even knew if Dickinson would officially return, I had Kansas as the No. 1 team in the way-too-early FOX Sports Top 25 2.0 earlier this week.

With Alabama transfer Rylan Griffen and Wisconsin transfer AJ Storr – the Badgers’ leading scorer and one of the best players in the Big Ten last year – headlining the four-way portal for Self , with point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. , KJ Adams and Johnny Furphy returning, the Jayhawks have the answers to all the questions heading into 2024-25.

In a world where many teams are still filling out their rosters and there is some uncertainty, Kansas has the best of both worlds with excellent returning players and a strong incoming transfer class, not to mention 5-star freshman big man Flory Bidunga.

Never bet against Self, and Dickinson’s return confirms that Allen Fieldhouse is the home of the best-positioned team for next season in college basketball.

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers sports in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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