N'Faly Dante is a five-star center recruit, and a top 10 2020 player. He may not stay in that class, though.
Many top players choose to reclassify up to get a year closer to NBA eligibility as soon as possible. With teams finding out exactly who is staying in the NBA Draft and who is returning to school by the end of the night, we'll have a clear picture of what teams are in need of late recruiting additions.
It sounds like Kentucky may very well be one of those programs. The Wildcats are getting back center Nick Richards, but 6-foot-10 forward EJ Montgomery still hasn't made an announcement ahead of tonight's NCAA NBA Draft withdrawal deadline.
If Montgomery doesn't return, UK will be very limited on the inside. It may not be directly connected, but John Calipari's staff is reportedly pushing for Dante to make the jump to 2019 and commit to Kentucky.
Rivals' Corey Evans revealed Kentucky's desire for N'Faly Dante to join the 2019 class in a mailbag posted today.
If he does move up, the Wildcats aren't a lock to land him though. From Rivals:
It was not your typical recruiting cycle for Kentucky this past year, as the Wildcats swung and missed on James Wiseman, Vernon Carey, Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart, the top four frontcourt prospects in the 2019 class. Is it a sign of things to come or rather just a random occurrence and a rash of bad luck?
My guess is that it is more of the latter. There were a variety of unique circumstances surrounding each, especially Wiseman, and I do not expect that will be the case in the 2020 class. The Wildcats might not land N’Faly Dante, though they are pushing for his early enrollment...
Of course, Kentucky isn't the only interested party. In an earlier Evans update, a number of other schools were identified, including the Kansas Jayhawks, Michigan State, and UK's SEC rival LSU.
There is not a better shot-blocker or rim presence in America than Dante. The 7-footer has tremendous length but even better instincts and timing in dominating his area near the basket. It is even more promising to see his offensive capabilities improve, as has his confidence within crowded spaces. 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. Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State and Oregon are just a few of the programs in the mix.
247's crystal ball for Dante is all over the map. LSU is actually the leader with 43-percent of the early predictions, with Kentucky and Oregon both getting votes as well.