Hurricane, Utah-based Utah Prep Lands the No. 1 Boys Basketball Prospect in America

AJ Dybansta, the consensus No. 1 boys basketball player in America, has decided to play his final season at Utah Prep in Hurricane, Utah.

Hurricane, Utah-based Utah Prep Lands the No. 1 Boys Basketball Prospect in America
Photo by Tom Pottiger / Unsplash

In a weird quirk, Utah's prominence in the sports world took an unexpected step forward last Friday night when it was announced that the consensus No. 1 boys b-baller in America would play his final high school season in Utah.

When ESPN, 24/7 Sports, and Rivals each say a certain player is the No. 1 boys basketball recruit headed into his final year of high school, trust me, the college coaches know who he is.

The question is, "Do you?"

Turns out his name is Anicet (AJ) Dybantsa.

And the reason why I'm writing about him for Utah Money Watch is that AJ and his family just announced that he has transferred to tiny Utah Prep in Hurricane, Utah for the 2024-25 season, his final year of high school, where his father (Anicet “Ace” Dybantsa Sr.) will "... join Utah Prep’s newly formed administration team."

How tiny is tiny? According to Utah Prep's website, it has roughly 200 students and describes itself as

"... a licensed private school, an extraordinary high school basketball club, and a 55-acre school campus nestled in the heart of Southern Utah at the gateway to Zion National Park."

So who is AJ, this consensus No. 1 college prospect, a B-Baller phenom who

  • Already has a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deal with Nike (as reported by ESPN and others this January);
  • Is on track to pull in millions more each season he remains in college via new NIL deals; and (should college ball play out for him),
  • Could command brain-numbing salary and promotional dollars in The Association if his growth trajectory continues.

"AJ" Dybantsa: From Boston to Napa to Hurricane and Beyond

Born in January 2007 to a Jamaican mother and a father from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, AJ was raised in Brockton, Massachusetts near Boston where he attended St. Sebastian's School, an independent, all-boys Catholic school in Needham.

And all AJ did during the 2022-23 season as a freshman was average 19.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.5 blocks per game, and he led St. Sebastian's to the Class A state championship game.

Photo of Anicet (AJ) Dybantsa downloaded from GlobeNewswire 24 May 2024.

AJ also shot 60.8 percent from the field during his frosh season, including 41 percent on 3-point attempts, which was enough to have him named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Massachusetts Boys' Basketball.

The 2023-24 season saw AJ flip coasts as he transferred to Prolific Prep in Napa, California, a school seen by many as a budding hoops hotbed that has produced such recent NBA players as combo guard Gary Trent Jr. of the Toronto Raptors wing and two-guard Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets.

As it turns out, Prolific Prep finished with a 34-6 overall record in 2023-24 (with a 20-0 league record).

So how good is AJ?

In describing AJ's eye-dropping 2023 summer, wrote that in two months he

  • "Led all scorers at the Nike Peach Jam event, averaging 26 points and six rebounds (played up two age groups);
  • "Led the NBPA Top 100 Camp in scoring despite being one of two rising sophomores that participated;
  • "Earned a gold medal on Team USA’s U16 team during the FIBA World Cup; (and)
  • "Joined forces with the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Paul George for offseason workouts."

Depending upon your hoops acumen, you might want to check out this Courtside Films highlight video of AJ that it shared on YouTube.

At 8+ minutes, it's definitely on the longer side.

But, seriously, it's virtually impossible to watch this vid and not know that this 17-year-old can really, really play.

It's also why (by my count) AJ now has scholarship offers from over 20 Division I schools, including such top programs as Kentucky, Duke, Alabama, Georgetown, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, California, USC, North Carolina, Baylor, Cincinnati, Kansas, Arkansas, Oregon, Houston, and many others, including the University of Utah (offered last week) and Brigham Young University (offered earlier today), just to name a few.

[NOTE: The schools listed above do NOT represent a comprehensive list, nor are they ranked in any order whatsoever.]

Oh, and in case you were wondering, AJ will wrap-up his high school career this season, not surprising given that he turns 18 in January.

Homepage screen grab from the Utah Prep website copied 28 May 2024.

So, for what it's worth, this future sports star / millionaire has now made Utah his home, at least for the 2024-25.

And coming on the heels of recent Utah-focused news surrounding the National Hockey League, the 2034 Winter Olympics (likely), the UofU and BYU being reunited in the same conference (again), and (potentially) Major League Baseball ... it just seemed to me that taking a gander at AJ Dybantsa moving to Utah was worthy of Utah Money Watch and it of him.

Good luck, AJ.

May it be a fun senior year!!!


This article was originally published and distributed to our Subscribers at approximately 6:30m (MT) on Tuesday, 28 May 2024.

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