Work in progress: Dickerson looks to make strides in senior season

Work in progress: Dickerson looks to make strides in senior season
Lincoln’s Jordan Dickerson has dedicated himself to basketball after leaving his home in Virginia.

Jordan Dickerson arrived at Lincoln last fall with a nearly 7-foot bull’s-eye on his back.

The native of Alexandra, Va. with sparse basketball experience was thrust into a no-win situation: joining the then four-time defending PSAL Class AA city champion Railsplitters the year after Lance Stephenson graduated. Expectations were thrust on his broad shoulders – unfair expectations for a 16-year-old kid in a new environment that despite his size differential was a considerable project who said he didn’t “do well in crowds.”

“When he first came, everybody was talking down on him,” forward Kamari Murphy recalled. “He got a lot of attention.”

Through the tumultuous season, Dickerson never stopped working, in the classroom or on the court. He got B’s and C’s in class and helped Lincoln reach the PSAL Class AA quarterfinals, averaging 1.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Dickerson followed up his first high-school season with another first: a summer on the AAU circuit. He recently performed well in Hoop Group Elite Camp, a four-day showcase in front of Division I college coaches at Albright College in Reading, Pa. This weekend, he will play in the Super Showcase in Orlando, Fla.

“It’s new, trying to adjust to all this,” the 6-foot-11 rising senior said. “New York is a different vibe. It’s more competitive. [Before], it was just basketball. At Lincoln I have to live and eat basketball. It’s more than just a sport.”

He added: “It was an overall good decision [to come to New York. Now I’m more into the game than I ever was before.”

Dickerson played basketball growing up, but not in an organized setting until the ninth grade. In his hometown, the sport wasn’t scrutinized nearly as much, nor was it as popular. Dickerson had visited Brooklyn to see his grandmother several times and heard from his uncle, Kevin Crawford, about Lincoln and the opportunities it could create.

Dickerson said he is likely to attend prep school after his senior year at Lincoln to further develop. He has come far already. His junior year was typified by hesitation and foul woes. When he got the ball inside, he often waited too long to go up, either traveled, had his shot block or just flat-out missed.

Dickerson has worked on thinking less and reacting more. He has showed a soft touch around the hoop that was previously lacking and is attempting to foul less and block shots more.

“I feel more comfortable, I feel more motivated,” he said, adding the detractors – and there were and still are many – he ignored. “Everybody has their own opinions. People are going to talk no matter what.”

Thomas Jefferson coach Lawrence Pollard has noticed a difference in Dickerson. Pollard, who faced Dickerson three times during the regular season and also coaches him with the Juice All-Stars, said the big man seems more aware of where he is on the court, has begun to use his left hand around the basket, and has even been able to score with his back to the basket.

“He’s shooting better, his feel for the game is better, and it seems like he’s a little bit more explosive,” Pollard said. “He’s improving. He’s been doing some big things.”

That’s simply a credit to the experience he has gained over the last few months, Lincoln coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton said. Dickerson didn’t have enough games under his belt against players that had years of basketball under theirs.

“You get better by playing more,” Morton said.

Murphy has already seen a marked improvement.

“He’s got a bright future,” Murphy said. “He just needs to keep working.”

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