There is now a real reason for Kentucky fans to worry about the team’s frontcourt for the 2019-20 season.
Jaden McDaniels ended his long recruitment process by choosing the Washington Huskies over Cal and the Cats, while EJ Montgomery very well may keep his name in the NBA Draft. It also appears Virginia Tech Hokies grad transfer Kerry Blackshear will remain in the draft after it appeared Kentucky was in a good spot for him if he returned to school.
This leaves graduate transfer Nate Sestina and a third-year Nick Richards as the only two big men on the 2019-20 roster.
However, one 2020 big men that Kentucky has their eyes on still may reclassify to the 2019 class. That player is 7-footer N’Faly Dante.
Dante is ranked 8th overall for the 2020 class, according to Rivals.
The Kansas native is known for his offensive instincts and ability to block shots. Landing Dante would be exactly what Kentucky needs for 2019, and according to Rivals, reclassification talks regarding Dante are “heating up”.
On Tuesday, Corey Evans wrote, “Having done really all that there is to do in the high school game, talk has picked up again on possibly making the move into the 2019 class.”
Then on Wednesday, Evans touched on Kentucky’s frontcourt options for the 2020 class while adding this tidbit on Dante:
“The Wildcats might not land N’Faly Dante, though they are pushing for his early enrollment.”
This is the first real mention of Kentucky actually pushing for Dante to be part of the 2019-20 Wildcats, but it makes perfect sense. With Montgomery and Blackshear likely staying in the draft, Dante may be the best option for adding a big man for next season.
247 Sports’ crystal ball has Will Wade and the LSU Tigers as the favorite with the predictions in their favor at 43%. However, the Cats aren’t too far behind, coming in second at 29%. The Oregon Ducks have also received predictions, most notably from Andrew Slater.
Dante was actually the first 2020 big man to score an offer from Kentucky, which came back on April 28th of last year. Perhaps Kentucky pushing for him to be a 2019 recruit has been in the works for a while now.
One thing that’s made Dante reclassifying more likely is he’s had a great showing on the spring AAU circuit, as he looks ready to make a big impact for any school next season.
It’s safe to think Dante will be a member of the 2019 recruiting class, though a decision may not come until later this summer when the AAU circuit wraps up, so this could be a long wait to see where he ultimately lands in college.