South Dakota guard Trey Dickerson was excited to have played with Peter Jok during his one season at Iowa. Now, the two friends will face off against each other in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday.
Dickerson crossed paths with Jok at Iowa after playing basketball virtually all over the country. He played high school ball in New York and Los Angeles, a prep school in Dallas, and then played a year in junior college.
After a successful season in junior college at Williston State, he committed to Iowa. Unfortunately for Dickerson, he didn’t have a huge role with the Hawkeyes, as he appeared in just 15 games during the 2014-15 season and averaged less than 10 minutes per game.
He opted to transfer from Iowa to South Dakota after that season and appears to be in a much better situation with the Coyotes. He started all 33 games this season at South Dakota and averaged 10.4 points, 2.8 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game. He led his team in assists and was named to The Summit League All-Newcomer Team.
As teams across the country learned their fate on Selection Sunday, Dickerson and his teammates learned their fate as well. The Coyotes’ hopes of playing in the NCAA Tournament ended last week when they lost in the semifinals to South Dakota State in The Summit League Conference Tournament.
Although they had lost out on participating in the NCAA Tournament, they had already locked up a berth in the NIT after finishing as the regular season champions in The Summit League.
The field of 32 teams for the NIT was announced Sunday night, and Dickerson and the Coyotes found out who they will be playing. As fate would have it, Dickerson will face off against his former team at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the first round.
“It’s going to be crazy,” Dickerson told Basketball Insiders. “I was honestly surprised. We thought we were going to play Illinois. Valparaiso got Illinois and we were like, ‘We’re about to play Iowa!’ A bunch of people have been texting me about the game and stuff. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun.”
Dickerson and his teammates watched the NIT announcement show while eating dinner together at a coach’s house. After hearing the news that they’ll face off against Iowa, his team was instantly excited for Dickerson. They understand what that game will mean for him and were excited about his opportunity.
“A lot of them are pumped for me,” Dickerson said. “I think matching up with Iowa brought us a lot of energy. We have a brotherhood. They’ll play hard for me because of the situation they know I’m in. They were all hyped and grabbing me. I know they’re definitely going to go out there and play hard for me.”
Although Dickerson played at Iowa for just one season, he still remains close with several of his former teammates, including Jok. The two will often talk several times a week and both continue to keep up with how the other is doing.
After hearing about the upcoming matchup, the two talked to each other on the phone Sunday night and are understandably excited to play each other.
“It’s going to be crazy playing against Trey, because we go back to freshman year in high school playing together at the Nike camp,” Jok told Basketball Insiders. “Even though things didn’t work out for him here, we stayed close and I wished him the best when he transferred.”
Dickerson insisted that there was no friendly trash talk between the two during that phone call.
“He didn’t talk any trash,” Dickerson said. “He’s just saying he wants to see me do good. Of course, he wants them to win but he wants to see me do my thing.”
Dickerson still remembers Jok’s work ethic and his drive to become a better basketball player. Jok still follows Dickerson at South Dakota and checks in to see how he’s playing. He told Dickerson at the beginning of the season that he wanted to see him have a good first year at South Dakota.
“I’ve been keeping up with him all year,” Jok said. “I’m really proud of what he’s done because I know what he’s been through. I hope he has a good game but we are on a mission and his team is on the way to get to that mission so we will be ready to play.”
While it’ll surely be fun for the two to catch up on the court, both would like to end up with the win. For Dickerson and the Coyotes, a win against an Iowa team that was one of the first four out of the tournament would go a long way.
“The biggest goal is I want to win,” Dickerson said. “I want to keep playing and try to get to [the NIT semifinals and finals in] New York City where I could play in front of my family and stuff like that. I’m going to just do whatever I could do to try to win the game.”
Dickerson is going to do everything he can to get a win, and if he just so happened to have a great game against his former team, that would be the icing on the cake.
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