The Iowa team sat in the locker room stunned by another close loss Saturday night. The Hawkeyes needed a pick-me-up. Trey Dickerson happily provided it.
The junior college point guard, at the school on his official visit, got the attention of head coach Fran McCaffery. He had some good news.
"It was right after the game, right after the buzzer-beater, I knew Coach McCaffery was a little down," Dickerson said. "He asked me to come in the locker room. I said to him, "Man, coach, it's over." He looked at me like, "What do you mean?" I was like, "I'm committing. I just told all of the other schools that I'm committing to Iowa and thanks for recruiting me."
"He have me a hug...for like five minutes."
Dickerson, a freshman at Williston (ND) State College, became Iowa's third commitment in the 2014 recruiting class, joining high school seniors Brady Ellingson and Dominique Uhl, who signed national letters of intent in November. Dickerson can pen his pledge to the Hawkeyes when the late period begins on April 16. It runs to May 21.
Dickerson will arrive at Iowa with three years of eligibility. He joins Peter Jok and Kyle Meyer in the program's sophomore class for the '14-15 season.
Iowa would like to fill its remaining available scholarship in this cycle with another junior college standout, Willie Atwood of Connors State. Atwood and Dickerson are friends and have talked about playing together at the D-I level.
"That's my job right now," Dickerson said of trying to convince Atwood to join him in Iowa City.
Atwood's season just ended late this week. He's reported scholarship offers from 12 schools, including Iowa, Arkansas, Arizona State, Auburn, Florida State, Kansas State and Wichita State.
"I think the chances are high that we get him, especially now that I've committed here," Dickerson said. "He knows he's wanted here."
Dickerson and Atwood planned to visit some schools together. They talked as recently as this week about traveling to Arkansas in tandem.
Dickerson said he's done taking visits. And that's not what he expected before seeing the Hawkeyes.
"It honestly surprised me but after the first night (Friday) in Iowa City I felt like I was home," Dickerson said. "I felt comfortable. I never really felt that way about other schools. For me to feel that way, I knew that this was the right place."
Dickerson's parents joined him on his official visit to Iowa. They were on board with this decision.
"They loved it,'" Dickerson said. "That was another big reason I committed. They said they didn't want me to visit any other schools because they loved it here and felt comfortable with me coming here."
Dickerson also has a strong connection with Jok. The two camped together as high school sophomores and have remained in contact ever since.
"We've built a real good relationship," Dickerson said. "Me and Pete are real close."
McCaffery and Francis began recruiting Dickerson back in the summer of 2011. The New York City native connected with the Iowa coaches because they were close with his AAU coach and his uncle. That helped in ending the recruitment this weekend.
"I have a tight relationship with them," the 6-foot, 180-pound guard said. "I've been talking with them for a while now. When I got to actually experience a game for myself and the fans and everybody showed me a lot of love, I just felt like I wanted to end it right there."
Dickerson left New York to play his senior season on Montclair Prep in Los Angeles. After not receiving the scholarship offers he wanted, he spent the '12-13 campaign doing post-graduate work at God's Academy in Lake Dallas, Texas. He committed to Murray State and arrived there last summer.
Something didn't feel right for Dickerson. He left Murray State before the fall semester began and enrolled at Williston State College. He averaged 19.8 points, 5.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds there this season and the D-I schools came calling.
In addition to Iowa, Nebraska, Washington, Arkansas, Saint Louis and Washington State were among the programs offering scholarships. UCLA, Purdue, Oklahoma State and others were showing interest.
Saturday's decision for Dickerson culminated a long journey to major college basketball.
"I honestly feel blessed," he said. "I know I've been down a lot of roads but to finally have the recruiting process over and be comfortable with a school and a coaching staff, we all trust each other, it definitely feels great. It feels real great."