Maloney's Tavern

By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 10, 1998

Dickerson robbed of Pac-10 player of year award


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Craig Degel

I want a recount.

With all due respect to Mike Bibby, the Pacific 10 Conference's player of the year does not wear No. 10 for the Arizona men's basketball team. He wears No. 23.

Michael Dickerson was robbed.

Unfortunately, the best argument I have for Dickerson being player of the year is a game that came after the award was announced. Regardless, here goes.

Did anybody see the UCLA game? Is it me or was Michael Dickerson everywhere. Hitting threes, driving to the hole, or scoring down low, Dickerson was doing it all for the Wildcats.

Let Lute Olson tell you his thoughts.

"Dickerson's game was probably as good as I've ever seen him play," Olson said.

Eugene Edgerson said earlier this season that Dickerson is the best player on the team because he guards the other team's best player and scores 20 a night.

Pass the plaque.

Bibby is an outstanding player, there is no questioning that. But Dickerson got lost in the Mike Bibby-Miles Simon hype train and never recovered. The same thing happened to Kris Johnson at UCLA. For some reason, people still believe J.R. Henderson and Toby Bailey are better than he is. Whatever.

That stats are a bit deceiving because Bibby and Dickerson play different roles for the Wildcats. So, let's take points and Bibby's assists and Dickerson's rebounds. Dickerson averages 18.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Bibby puts in 17.2 a game and dishes out 5.9 assists.

Pretty even right? Right.

So what's the problem? Why is Dickerson lost in the shuffle? I wish I knew.

At one point this season, Dickerson was in a stretch where he was shooting over 60 percent from the field. That's good if you're a center like A.J. Bramlett. It's super human if you're a forward like Dickerson.

Consider that in his 11 for 11 second half shooting performance against Washington, Dickerson hit just two shots from inside 15 feet. The other nine were mid-range jumpers and threes.

Dickerson credits the development of that mid-range jumper to his success this season.

"Being able to penetrate and pull up (has helped)," Dickerson said.

Back to the UCLA game.

Dickerson was the man. Bibby looked human. While the sophomore was 1 for 4 in the first half, Dickerson was 10 for 13 in the second half when the Wildcats needed the points most. He had six of Arizona's final eight points as they pulled out the 91-87 comeback win.

Maybe it came down to a leadership thing with Bibby being a point guard. If that's so, it's a shame because time and again over the past two season, Dickerson has put Arizona on his back and carried the team to greatness with his offense.

In the NCAA title game against Kentucky, on college basketball's biggest stage, he did it with his defense of Ron Mercer.

Michael Dickerson: Prolific scorer, outstanding defender, Pac-10 player of the year.

Craig Degel is a journalism senior and covers men's basketball for the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

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