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Thursday Quickies: On to N’Faly Dante Edition

The Wildcats fall short in landing Blackshear, so it’s on to their next target.

Draft Express

After weeks and weeks of speculation and rumors, Kerry Blackshear Jr. announced his decision yesterday, and it wasn’t in favor of Kentucky.

The former Virginia Tech big man is headed back home to Florida, where he will join Kentucky’s rival, the Florida Gators, making the Gators a legitimate threat to win the SEC and contend for a Final Four next season.

Kentucky was once considered the leader and many expected a commitment during his visit, but several factors worked in favor of the Florida decision: a return back home for the Orlando native, a much more featured role in the offense and however many minutes he wants, and a chance to possibly contend for a title.

As for Kentucky, it’s time for the coaching staff to re-evaluate. John Calipari recently said he believed the team would be fine with three big men in Nick Richards, EJ Montgomery and Nate Sestina. They may decide to go with their current roster makeup, but don’t be surprised if the Cats try to add one more big man.

That could be 2020 prospect N’Faly Dante, who is planning to visit Lexington beginning today. Dante has been rumored to be a potential reclassification candidate, although he shot that down last night and said he was remaining in 2020.

The thing to keep in mind here: if he were to announce a reclassification and begin the process, he would be ineligible to play in Peach Jam and other major summer AAU events. Most reclassification candidates don’t announce until the end of the high-profile summer tournaments.

Landing Dante would be nice for the Cats, but fans will need to temper expectations. He isn’t the polished product Blackshear is. Dante is probably the best shot-blocker in high school basketball, rebounds very well, runs the floor well and can finish around the rim as he continues to grow his offensive game.

IF he reclassifies, he could be a good fit at Kentucky and I believe he could be a major factor by January or February.

We’ll have to wait and see where Kentucky goes from here following last night’s decision.

Tweets of the Day

Evan seems to like the Cats landing Dante.

Kash and the Cats were a hit in Paintsville.


Missing Blackshear means big responsibility for Richards, Montgomery - Herald Leader

Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery will have to make major improvements this offseason.

What type of impact will losing Blackshear have? - Courier Journal

The Cats should still expect to be in good shape.

N’Faly Dante set to begin visit tomorrow - KSR

Dante is a top option for 2019 or 2020.

Terrence Clarke exploring reclassification to 2020 - Cats Pause

Clarke is among the best in 2021.

Brad Calipari down to two schools - KSR

Looks like it’ll be Detroit or Hampton for Brad.

Kings are weighing Willie Cauley-Stein decision - Sacramento Bee

The Kings are unsure of what to do with their seemingly unhappy big man.

Kevin Durant declines $31.5 million player option - ESPN

And the KD free agency frenzy offically kicks off.

Bob Ley retires after 40 years - ESPN

The ESPN anchor was a mainstay on televisions across the country.

Vanderbilt claims CWS title over Michigan - Sporting News

The Commodores decisively took Game 3 by a score of 8-2.

2003 NBA Draft Class vs 1996: who wins? - Yahoo

A difficult battle. Which would you pick?

UCONN Board of Trustees approves move to Big East - Yahoo

UCONN is one step closer to a return to the Big East.

Enes Kanter thinks Zion Williamson is overhyped - Sports Illustrated

That may come back to bite Enes.