There’s a lot you don’t know about Noah Dickerson. That’s about to change.
He comes across as one of Washington’s more reserved personalities. But the junior forward actually likes talking to people. He’ll talk to anyone who wants to listen. Dickerson will discuss anything. He’ll open up about how losing his grandmother made him a better communicator. Or how after he recently lost his grandfather, he told his teammates he needed their help.
Ask about his mother. He gladly speaks with pride about a woman who adopted twin boys and raised them as a single mother while working on Wall Street for more than 20 years.
“I just gave a speech about her in my public speaking class a couple days ago,” he says with a smile. “She’s was one of the first in her family to go to college. She went and got her master’s degree at Cornell. She worked on Wall Street for 22 years. She told me a story when we used to have elementary school events, she’d take a company town car from New York to our school (in New Jersey), come inside, make sure she would catch our eyes and wave at us and make sure we knew she was there.
“Then she’d take the town car back to New York, finish her work and come home at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. She did it all.”
Roslyn Dickerson adopted Noah and his brother, Jordan, at birth.
Noah said when his mother was was in college, she married a man who had a child from a previous relationship but the couple later divorced.
“My mom said, ‘Reason I wanted to get kids?’” he said. “’Is because I missed the kid but I didn’t miss him, though.’”
Roslyn said her initial plan was to adopt one child and then get a second at a later time. She was open to the idea of twins because she had several of them on both sides of her family.
She said Noah, who is 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, was always considered the “big kid” in his class. Roslyn said Noah and Jordan, who is a student at the University of Arizona, have always kept and continue to keep a close circle of friends.
“Growing up, his best friends — other than his brother — it was the smallest kid in the class,” Roslyn said. “That was his friend in elementary school. The kid who was autistic was one of his good friends. Whether it was Noah thinking he was different because he was the big kid or it was just the assumption, he was always caring for someone.”
Noah kept those experiences in perspective while becoming a national recruit.
Both Noah and Roslyn wanted him to spend his senior year at a prep school that offered strong academics and a stellar basketball program.
They checked out different schools and Noah chose Montverde Academy (Fla.), which is about 30 miles away from Orlando.
Montverde is a national power that’s produced several players who are either at major Division I programs or in the NBA.
It also gives Noah the distinction of saying he’s been either a college or high school teammate of five first-round picks. Two of those five were the No. 1 pick in Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons.
He played at UW with Marquese Chriss, Dejounte Murray and Fultz. At Montverde, he played with D’Angelo Russell and Simmons.
Simmons, a forward for the Philadelphia 76ers, was able to connect with Noah when he flew out east for his grandfather’s funeral. He wasn’t the only one.
“When I went out for the funeral and saw all my family, his friends said, ‘You’re his grandson he was talking about,’” Noah recalled. “That made me happy he was so proud of me.”
That 10-day window itself was a whirlwind. Noah led UW to wins over then-No. 25 Arizona State and No. 9 Arizona. He was named the NCAA and Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Noah, on the day he won the awards, grabbed a flight to the east coast to be with his family. He flew back to Seattle and after not practicing, he still played in losses at Oregon and Oregon State. He scored a team-high 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Ducks. Noah also scored 28 points and 12 rebounds in a double-overtime defeat to the Beavers.
“This (his teammates) is my family. I tell my family everything,” he said. “I told them before the game, ‘I’m tired. I’m sad. I just went through what I went through and I need your help. Sometimes, I need help.
“We didn’t come out with the win but they helped me.”
Noah said he learned early it was better to talk about his feelings with others instead of keeping them bottled.
He started speaking with a therapist when he was in high school after having a hard time coping with the loss of his grandmother.
Having someone to speak with made him feel better about dealing with tough situations.
“It helps to get it out. It really does,” he said. “From my experiences, I know I can help somebody else that might be going through a hard time because you need somebody to listen.”