The 26-year-old Christ the King basketball alum and former assistant coach at the Middle Village high school will join the Queens College coaching staff for the upcoming 2017-18 season.
The Queens College Knights are the only Division II program in New York City, which only has a handful of Division I programs one level above it, but a plethora of Division III’s underneath.
Born in Astoria and raised in Maspeth for the majority of his life, coach Dickman hasn’t had to move around a ton in order to climb the coaching ranks and closer to his eventual dream of becoming a high-level Division I head coach.
That is, except for his stop at Morgantown, West Virginia, where he attended college for five years, serving as a manager for the perennial-power basketball program from 2009-2013, the first season of which was a trip to the Final Four.
“I always knew things about basketball,” Dickman said. “I played at Christ the King and was on Varsity B as a senior. When I went to West Virginia, I thought I knew a lot, but then I realized I didn’t know a damn thing.”
As a child, Dickman didn’t play video games nearly as much as he fantasized about being a SportsCenter anchor, and even contemplated attending Indiana University after his 2009 high school graduation to pursue sports broadcasting.
However, he opted for West Virginia upon the suggestion of Donald Wright, then a coach at CTK.
“He asked me; ‘why don’t you be a coach?’” Dickman said. “Being around Hugs [WVU head coach Bob Huggins] and everyone on that staff who had NBA experience and college experience and seeing how the teams operated was mind blowing for me, especially the first couple of months on campus.
“The way they looked at the game was 100 times different from the way I looked at it,” he added. “Even now, I feel like I’m still learning a lot.”
The groundwork for being around such a high-level program on a managerial basis was originally laid in high school. Dickman also helped manage the basketball programs while at Christ the King, and says he started picking up the game and good habits from longtime boys’ head coach Joe Arbitello, who was and is instrumental in Dickman’s jump to Queens College after three years at King.
“It was the first or second week of the Christ the King basketball camp this past summer,” he remembered. “Coach Arbitello got a text from Coach [Matt] Collier saying he needed an assistant with ties to the CHSAA, and put me on from there.”
“I got to know coach Collier for a bit,” he continued. “I talked to him on the phone first, then I went in and actually met him face-to-face. He came up the same why I did as a college manager.
He’s been in the game for close to 20 years as an assistant at the Division I level, and this is only his second year as the head guy in Queens,” he added. “We’re all learning at the same time.”
On his way out, coach Dickman assessed his three years at Christ the King as a JV assistant, while also spending sometime at the varsity level, as a wonderful experience. During his three seasons with JV, the team won championships in their first and third years.
When discussing the differences between being around a college team like WVU, and a premier (but still) high school program like CTK, he says that one of the things he’ll take with him to Queens College is a reminder that ‘there’s so much more to basketball than just basketball.’
Overall, he just can’t wait to get the season started, and embark on this new chapter, which can indicate greater things on the horizon for the rising basketball mind.
“It feels good to wake up and take a 10-minute drive to your job,” he said with a laugh. “I can’t wait to go on the road and see different kids throughout the city. Going on trips to watch basketball and it’ll be my job. I’m going to go out and kill it the best I can to make coach Collier’s life easier and everyone else around the program. It’s going to be a fun experience.”