After swinging and missing on Kerry Blackshear earlier in the offseason, it appears that the Vols have focused on attempting to get five-star 2020 center N’Faly Dante to reclassify to the class of 2019.
Tennessee now actually has an open roster spot to fill after DJ Burns’ decision to transfer back home to Winthrop.
The move to reclassify would allow Dante to join the Vols for the upcoming season. This news comes from Jack Pilgrim of Kentucky Sports Radio, who notes that Dante is focused on Kentucky, Tennessee, LSU and Oregon.
2020 five-star center N’Faly Dante tells KSR that a reclassification to 2019 is still possible, focusing on Kentucky, Oregon, LSU, and Tennessee. Said he enjoyed visit to UK, they’re okay with him coming either year.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) July 12, 2019
Dante is the 12th ranked prospect in the 2020 class, according to the 247 Sports Composite. He stands in at 6-11, 230 pounds and comes from Wichita, Kansas.
Tennessee saw Grant Williams, Kyle Alexander, Derrick Walker and now DJ Burns exit the program this offseason. They’ve added 7-1 center Uros Plavsic by way of Arizona State, and are confident about their chances of securing a waiver for the redshirt freshman.
Still, the numbers are an issue for Tennessee in the frontcourt.
John Fulkerson and Zach Kent return to join Plavisic. Outside of that, it’s down to 2019 four-star forward Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua and three-star forward Drew Pember. That’s some razor thin depth and a big time lack of experience in the post.
Tennessee’s 2019-20 team will rely heavily on senior guards Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden, along with five-star freshman Josiah James. Adding a player of Dante’s caliber into the mix would ease quite a few depth concerns, while giving the Volunteers some outstanding size down low.
Both Oregon and Kentucky have received crystal ball projections for Dante to this point. This is an interesting situation to follow as Barnes makes his final attempts to round out this roster.