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July 12th, 2019

N’Faly Dante on potential reclassification: “If I can go (to 2019), I’ll go”

KSR

While the Kentucky coaching staff turns their attention to the top prospects in 2020 and 2021, one potential option for 2019 remains on the board.

2020 five-star center N’Faly Dante has flirted with a jump to 2019 for several months now, going through the proper academic avenues to make a reclassification possible, just in case the perfect opportunity presents itself.

Physically, he knows he’s ready to make the jump. Going into day three of the 2019 Nike Peach Jam, Dante has averaged 18.7 points (74% shooting and 67% from the free throw line), 13.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game in North Augusta, SC. This comes immediately after averaging 14.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game during the 2019 Nike EYBL regular season.

Needless to say, the 6-foot-11 center has been a dominant force on both ends of the floor against some of the best high school competition in the nation.

Academically, though, the hoops he still has to jump through to make a reclassification possible and the clock ticking louder and louder as time moves forward makes the situation an admittedly tough one for him.

“I feel like I can play [in college right now], but it’s all about school, you know?” he said. “But I don’t even think about [my reclassification] right now.”

Personally, he’s not dying to make the jump by any means. In fact, he said himself he’d actually prefer to stay in 2020 to avoid the stress of finishing things up over the next several weeks.

“Nah, [I don’t want to reclassify] really,” he said. “I don’t really know. Not really, though.”

That being said, he understands that he doesn’t have much left to prove at the high school level from a productivity standpoint and it might be best for his basketball future to make the jump now.

That’s why he’s planning on moving forward with it if he can get his academic situation in order.

“I mean, I don’t even think about [reclassifying]. I really don’t,” he told KSR. “I’m just focused on the work we are doing now. Maybe (I make the jump), I don’t really know. It’s not like I’m trying to go, but if I can go, I’ll go.”

But what’s left for Dante academically before he is able to move from 2020 to 2019? There was some speculation that it’s a specific test score his camp waiting on, namely the SAT, before he can even entertain the possibility.

While the five-star center didn’t say anything about a specific score, he did say he has some online coursework he needs to complete before anything else can happen.

“I have some [schoolwork] left,” Dante said. “I have an online class to finish up before I’m done with my junior and senior classes.”

With the “when” cleared up at least a little bit, now comes the “where.”

Kentucky, Oregon, and LSU have been seen as the three strongest contenders to land the 6-foot-11 center over the last several weeks, with the Wildcats picking up a bit of momentum when he decided to take an official visit to UK from June 27-29.

When asked about his trip to Lexington, Dante said he really enjoyed his time and learned a lot from the UK coaching staff.

“It was good,” he told KSR. “It was really good. We talked about a lot of stuff, the stuff I’m trying to know [about Kentucky and playing college basketball.]”

According to Dante, Kentucky says they have reserved a spot for him on the roster no matter when he wants to come. If he can get his academic situation in order and wants to join the 2019 class, they’d love to have him now. If not, they’d be more than happy to see him join the fold for the 2020-21 season.

“It doesn’t matter [when I come], they say whenever I want, whenever I want to come, they’d like to have me,” he said.

Outside of Kentucky, Dante said he likes Oregon because of the team’s chemistry both on and off the floor.

“It’s a school, they’re all good schools to me,” he said. “[But with Oregon], they all play together, work together. Whenever you see them, they are always together.”

He had similar thoughts about the Tigers.

“Same thing [as Oregon], anytime I go there for a visit, it’s always the same, they’re always together every time,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s just because I was taking a visit, but I always saw them together. They all play together and work hard.”

Are there any schools on his mind outside of Kentucky, Oregon, and LSU? Dante says there is one more program he is considering.

“I would say Tennessee,” he said. “I might visit Tennessee, I don’t know when, but I might.”

Do any schools or coaching staffs stand out from the rest?

“Not really, they’re all similar,” he said. “They all try and recruit me hard.”

When asked what was next for Dante after the AAU basketball season, the five-star joked that it’ll be time to go back to school, he just doesn’t know which one or what level it will be.

“I might go back to high school, I don’t really know yet, but I might,” Dante said with a laugh.


KSBar’s Top 10 Tweets of the Day

KSBar and Grille is the place in Lexington to catch University of Kentucky games (pre and postgame too) as well as other events such as the NBA Playoffs, UFC fights, the World Cup, MLB games, PGA tour events, and more.

KSBar might be known for their smoked wings but don’t miss out on the brisket platter, fried katfish, chicken and waffles, and the great assortment of burgers. Start off with the house chips loaded to the ceiling smothered with pulled pork or chicken straight off the smoker topped with the house BBQ sauce. 

Head to the KSBar and Grille website ksbarandgrille.com to see a full menu and drink list. 

Be on the look out for different specials and events.

KSBar and Grille is located at: 1030 South Broadway, Lexington, KY 40504


You can be a part of KSR’s Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.

If you are interested in sponsoring KSR’s Top 10 Tweets, please contact us at Via Email.

#10 Johnny Versace

The takeover continues.

#9 Austin Rogers

You people are crazy!

#8 Jack Pilgrim

Make sure you’re following Jack while he’s at the Peach Jam.

#7 Derek Willis

Yes. Yes, you do love to see it.

#6 Super Saiyan D

#5 Kentucky Football

#50Days

#4 Kentucky Football

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be proud.

#3 John Calipari

Speaking of…

#2 mister

Someone cancel Grayson Allen.

#1 JD Motorsports


UK Fans of the Day want the KSR Summer Tour Schedule

The KSR Blue Lights Across the Bluegrass Summer Tour got off to a great start in Western Kentucky thanks to our friends at GenCanna. Next week, the group heads to the eastern part of the state before returning to Lexington for The Basketball Tournament (TBT).

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1 – presented by GenCanna
7/8 – Munfordville @ Hart County High School
7/9 – Russellville @ Roy’s BBQ
7/10 – Central City @ Stellian’s
7/11 – Fort Thomas @ Highlands High School (Jared Lorenzen Tribute)
7/12 – Murray @ Tap 216

Week 2
7/15 – Barbourville @ Appalachian Children’s Home
7/16 – Middlesboro @ JR Hoe and Sons
7/17 – Pikeville @ Buffalo Wild Wings
7/18 – Ashland @ Blazer’s Restaurant and Bakery
7/19 – Lexington @ Douglass HS for The Tournament

Week 3
7/22 – Somerset Golf Outing @ Woodson Bend Resort
7/23 – Somerset @ Associates in Eye Care
7/24 – Monticello @ Conley Bottom Resort
7/25 – Campbellsville @ Mr. Gatti’s Pizza
7/26 – Lexington @ Lexington Legends

Week 4
8/5 – Bowling Green @ Overtime Sports Bar and Grill
8/6 – Hopkinsville @ Hopkinsville Sportsplex
8/7 – Benton @ CFSB Bank
8/8 – Paducah @ Royal Oaks Chevrolet
8/9 – Louisville Golf Outing @ Glen Oaks Country Club

Week 5
8/12 – Elizabethtown @ Kentucky Jeep and Truck
8/13 – Danville @ The Discount House 2.0
8/14 – Fort Wright @ Dickmann’s
8/15 – Lexington @ Kentucky Branded
8/16 – Louisville @ TBA

See you along the way!


Kentucky finishes No. 2 in CBS Sports’ Best in College Sports Rankings

How dominant were University of Kentucky sports teams last season? The Cats finished second in CBS Sports’ 2018-19 Best in College Sports rankings, which were released yesterday.

But Tyler, I can hear you saying, UK finished No. 14 in the Learfield IMG Directors’ Cup standings last month, right? How is this different? I’m glad you asked. The Directors’ Cup ranks Division I athletics departments on performance across all sports, while CBS Sports gives more weight to sports with broader fan and media interest. CBS Sports rates every FBS school in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball and adds in two “wild cards” from among baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, hockey and wrestling. More emphasis is placed on football and men’s basketball due to their popularity.

Kentucky finished No. 2 with 494.25 points behind Michigan, which finished with 501.75 points. Here’s the point breakdown:

  • 161.25 – Football (12th in final AP Poll)
  • 146 – Men’s basketball (Elite Eight)
  • 50 – Women’s basketball (second round)
  • 73 – Men’s soccer (Elite Eight)
  • 64 – Softball/volleyball (both advanced to round of 16)

Oklahoma, LSU, and Ohio State rounded out the top five. The University of Louisville? All the way down at No. 42.

Go Cats.

[CBS Sports]


Top-ranked PG recruit Daishen Nix discusses visits, Kentucky interest

While most of the high school and college basketball world is centered at Peach Jam this week, one of the top players in America – and one of Kentucky’s top targets – was playing in a small high school gym, in front of a small contingent of big-time college coaches Thursday night right outside Los Angeles.

His name is Daishen Nix, a player believed – by most major recruiting services – to be the top-ranked point guard in America. Rivals.com and 247 Sports both have Nix ranked as a Top 15 player nationally as well.

And the 6’4 Nix was the center of attention at the Pangos Elite 80 event on Thursday, with a handful of college basketball’s biggest name coaches standing courtside for his game. Among them were UCLA’s Mick Cronin, Alabama’s Nate Oats and Washington’s Mike Hopkins, as well an assistant coach from Maryland. The University of Kentucky, a school which Nix has spoken highly of in the past, was not represented, although they are actively recruiting Nix as one of their top point guard targets in the 2020 class.

If you’re not totally familiar with Nix’s name it’s completely understandable, as to date, his recruitment has been relatively quiet. As previously documented by KSR, Nix’s recruitment has blown up over the last year or so after a big summer in 2018, and Kentucky first reached out to express interest in April when they visited him in his new home of Las Vegas (he is originally from Alaska). To date, he has yet to take an official visit, and has only taken two unofficial visits, to West Coast schools UCLA and Arizona State.

That will likely change though in the coming months, as Nix said that the plan is to ramp up the visit schedule around the start of the school year. The expectation is that Lexington will be one of the stops on the 6’4 guard’s itinerary.

“I plan on visiting the four schools that were here tonight [UCLA, Alabama, Washington and Maryland],” Nix said Thursday. “Plus, Kentucky and maybe Kansas.”

Yet even with the visit, don’t expect an announcement from Nix any time soon. Like so many elite high school players these days, Nix plans to wait until the spring (or possibly even the end of his senior year) to announce his college decision, to see what everyone’s roster looks like heading into his freshman season. In other words, the success of Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey could play a role in whether Nix ends up in Lexington or not. If it looks like both could be gone from Lexington in 2020-2021, that could be advantage Kentucky. If one (or in a shocking turn of events, both) look like they’ll be back, it could be a hinderance.

So that could be a disadvantage, but there two things working in Kentucky’s favor when it comes to Nix’s recruitment.

The first, is that he said that one of the keys in his decision (beyond what the roster looks like) is how the school develops point guards, and it’s something he’s certainly noticed at Kentucky. “There are a lot of guards coming from there,” Nix said of Kentucky and John Calipari’s program.

The other thing which could be advantage Kentucky (or Alabama or Maryland): Nix said that the location of a school won’t be a factor. Despite growing up in Alaska and moving to Las Vegas, he isn’t limiting his choices to only West Coast schools. But instead, what’s the best fit.

“My mom just wants me to play wherever it’s going to make me happy,” Nix said.

That could be a good sign for Kentucky as they pursue the top-ranked point guard in the 2020 recruiting class.