5-Star Center N'Faly Dante Commits to Oregon, Reclassifies for 2019 Class

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2019

Sunrise Christian's N'Faly Dante #12 is seen against IMG Academy in a Boys Quarterfinal game at the Geico High School Basketball Nationals in the Queens borough of New York on Thursday, April 4, 2019. IMG Academy won the game. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

The Oregon Ducks added a significant presence to their future frontcourt Tuesday when center N'Faly Dante joined their 2019 recruiting class.

Dante, a native of Mali, announced his decision in a first-person essay addressed to his mother for the Players' Tribune.

"Oregon has a program that reflects a lot of the values you taught me when I was growing up," he wrote.

Dante checks in at 6'11" and 230 pounds and is a 5-star prospect, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He was the No. 12 overall player, No. 3 center and No. 1 player from the state of Kansas in the class of 2020.

Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Dealer noted in April that the big man—who measured in with a 7'5½" wingspan and 9'5" standing reach during the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon—was considering reclassifying to the 2019 class during his recruitment.

According to 247Sports' Matt Prehm, Dante will indeed reclassify, joining Oregon in 2019 rather than 2020.

Dante's length immediately stands out, and he uses that wingspan to protect the rim on the defensive side and control the boards on both ends. Even if he still needs to develop some as an offensive threat, he has the potential to be an elite rim protector and conference Defensive Player of the Year candidate as soon as his freshman season.

Jerry Meyer of 247Sports noted he has to add strength to battle with some of the bigs he will eventually face in the NBA, but at least one year in a high-level college program will help him do just that while expanding his offensive arsenal.

He should be able to finish at the rim over many collegiate defenders with his size alone, and adding touch will help him project to the next level.

If he develops into a complete player and maximizes his ability as a defensive force, Dante can help Oregon compete for a conference title and potential deep tournament run even as a freshman.

This is an important recruiting victory for head coach Dana Altman, who continues rolling in the Pacific Northwest. He led the Ducks to the Sweet 16 in 2013 and 2019, Elite Eight in 2016 and Final Four in 2017 and gets an elite big man to work with after Bol Bol missed much of his only collegiate season with injury.

Dante is talented enough to maintain the Ducks' recent success and perhaps even build on it, even if he just stays for one season.

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