HYATTSVILLE – Standing at 7-foot-1, DeMatha Catholic center Hunter Dickinson towers over the majority of his opponents. The rising sophomore gained notoriety while his defensive and scoring abilities touted him as one of the best centers in the area. “He has a great future ahead of him,” DeMatha Head Coach Mike Jones said. “He plays […]
HYATTSVILLE – Standing at 7-foot-1, DeMatha Catholic center Hunter Dickinson towers over the majority of his opponents.
The rising sophomore gained notoriety while his defensive and scoring abilities touted him as one of the best centers in the area.
“He has a great future ahead of him,” DeMatha Head Coach Mike Jones said. “He plays older than his age and is a true post player, but he also has range to the three-point line. He has proven to be one of the best post players in the country regardless of class.”
So far this summer the big man has showed his worth. After averaging just 4.8 points-per-game as a freshman, Dickinson scored 21 points and grabbed 21 rebounds for a double-double in the Stags’ 79-72 double overtime victory over Springbrook in the first round of the DeMatha Summer League playoffs.
“He makes the game easier for me,” DeMatha guard Earl Timberlake, Jr. said. “Whenever I get the ball to him, he always gets down and dunks it.”
Both players combined for 25 points against Sidwell Friends in the University of Maryland Team Camp Showcase. Together with guard Justin Moore, who is returning from injury, the players are part of a younger, rebuilt core for the DeMatha boys’ basketball team as it looks to bounce back after a disappointing 2017-18 season.
After losing to Paul VI, 59-55, in the semifinals of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Championship a year ago, the Stags (23-8) were defeated by St. Maria Goretti, 60-57, in the first round of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, ending their season early.
For a program known as a powerhouse in developing college and NBA level talent, losing is not normal, or an easy pill to swallow.
Recently, alumnus Markelle Fultz was drafted with the No.1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, shining a brighter spotlight on the school.
Last season, four of the team’s five leading scorers were seniors, meaning fresh talent was needed to rejuvenate the roster.
One of the team’s first significant upgrades was the transfer of Timberlake, Jr. from Rock Creek Christian. The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard is known as a defensive stopper who averaged 8.3 points-per-game last season. His parents always wanted him to go to DeMatha for educational reasons, and Jones stayed in contact with him since meeting with him in the eighth grade.
The transfer process was easier with Jones’ support, Timberlake, Jr. said.
“They welcomed me in with open arms,” Timberlake, Jr. said.
Timberlake, Jr. acknowledged he is already starting to build chemistry with his new teammates, some of which he met during AAU play.
“I think he fits in real well with this team,” Jones said. “I think the guys have embraced him as a member of the family and I think that is important with any new face that comes in.”
Timberlake has already received interest and offers from several universities, including North Carolina State, Maryland and Georgetown.
NBA Hall of Famer and new Hoyas Head Coach Patrick Ewing met Timberlake, Jr. earlier in the summer, and hinted that Georgetown would be keeping an eye on him thanks in large part to his move to DeMatha.
“It was very surreal,” Timberlake, Jr. said about meeting Ewing. “I just look at it as motivation to keep working regardless.”
Moore, a rising junior who suffered an ACL tear in late January, hopes to be ready for the start of the season. Before the injury, Moore averaged 14 points-per-game, third most on the team. If healthy, he can help contribute veteran experience to the young members of the new squad.
Despite not winning a summer league tournament this year, DeMatha’s ultimate goal is to build its core and to be ready for regular season play.