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West coast standout touts Division l experience for the Bombers

Graduate+student+guard+June+Dickson+joined+the+Ithaca+College+womens+basketball+team+after+playing+at+the+California+Polytechnic+Institute+for+the+past+three+seasons.
Rayahna Tryka
Graduate student guard June Dickson joined the Ithaca College women’s basketball team after playing at the California Polytechnic Institute for the past three seasons.

A promising D-I athlete ending up at Ithaca College is not something one would expect, but in the case of graduate student June Dickson, that is exactly what happened. After playing three seasons for Cal Poly, a Division I school out in San Luis Obispo, California, Dickson will be suiting up for the Bombers. 

Dickson had grown up in Los Angeles with a passion for basketball since she was a kid, playing pick up games against her older brother Desi. She said that after playing all four years of high school at Culver City High School, as well as playing club basketball for West Coast Elite, she found herself being recruited by several Division I schools on the West Coast, including California State University Northridge and UC San Diego.

During her last year at Cal Poly, Dickson led the team in free throw percentage and was third on the team in three point percentage. After playing for the Mustangs, Dickson said it was her pursuit of academics that ended up bringing her into Ithaca College’s graduate program for sports psychology.

Dickson said she had gotten in contact with the women’s basketball team through a childhood friend and men’s basketball student manager James Dimeo 22 before coming out to visit the college last spring and actively sought out a spot on the team for herself.

“I asked James how he liked it here and he said he loved it, so that was my connection to Ithaca,” Dickson said.

Even coming out of high school, Dickson said she never thought she would end up playing for anything lower than Division I. 

“I was getting recruited by Division II and Division III schools and I remember that my dream was only to play Division I,” Dickson said.

Yet, Dickson said that being at Ithaca allows her to not only achieve the education she desires in the field of sports psychology, but the ability to balance that with her athletic career.

“There’s not a lot of sports psychology grad programs in the U.S.,” Dickson said.  “I wanted to play at a lower level school where I could enjoy playing basketball again and found that love again.” 

Dickson said she wanted to find a place where she could continue to play without the pressure feeling so heavy, yet she still recognized the drive of the women’s team to succeed. 

“The environment is not as toxic or competitive in that way,” Dickson said. “But I think the girls are just as competitive and want it just as much at that level. I just think there’s not as much as that culture of being the best and willing to put everything on the line to be where you want to be.”

Women’s basketball head coach Dan Raymond said he was ecstatic when he found out that Dickson was interested in bringing her Division I experience to the court at the college and said she has been a great asset for the team going into the 2023–24 season. 

“She contacted us, we obviously responded,” Raymond said. “We did a little research and found out that she would be someone that we would be very interested in.”  

Dickson said she likes the environment at the college, which she said allows her to be more than just a basketball player, something she did not experience at the Division I level. 

“There’s more time to learn more about yourself and be more of a student,” Dickson said. “At the Division I level there’s not a lot of time to really engage in your studies and learn a lot about yourself.”

Although Dickson already comes to the college with years of experience at the highest levels of college basketball, she still takes the time to bond with the team and share her experiences and basketball knowledge. Assistant coach Mary Mazzella said she has been able to recognize this attribute in Dickson as a player.

“She has a very high basketball IQ,” Mazzella said. “She’s not only a good player, she’s a good teacher, so she’s been very good with all the players with communicating and leadership.” 

Dickson said she found herself mixing in with the Division III level very well despite her Division I expertise and the chemistry she has with her teammates that help her thrive.

“They’ve been so welcoming and so embracing that sometimes I forget I was even on that level,” Dickson said.

Dickson said that, just as it was back in California, her goal here is to win, but also to find a deeper passion for the game while she pursues her sports psychology degree. 

“I want to look back and say that I enjoyed my last years playing,” Dickson said. “I would love to win a national championship here; I think that’s any player’s goal.”

Raymond also said he recognizes Dickson’s drive to succeed on the court.

“She’s very competitive and wants to win every drill,” Raymond said. “She’s a leader to the younger players and they love when she talks to them and helps them understand the game.” 

The Bombers were able to snag their first win of the season in thrilling style Nov. 9 on the road against SUNY Cortland with a buzzer beater to take the 70–69 victory. Dickson ended up leading the way in her Bomber debut with 20 points. Raymond said he looks forward to coaching her this season and that she is a perfect fit for the team. 

“She is a welcome addition to our program,” Raymond said. “She’s a wonderful human being first and foremost and I think everyone is gonna be excited to watch her play.”



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