Five-star freshman N’Faly Dante will miss at least the first nine games of the season after not being admitted to Oregon for fall term.
Dante, a native of Mali, Africa, graduated early from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas and committed to Oregon on Aug. 13, but did not move to Eugene while awaiting clearance from the NCAA. UO coach Dana Altman said last week that Dante was “still going through admissions”.
Classes at Oregon began two weeks ago and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Tuesday morning that Dante “has been informed he will be ineligible to start the season because the NCAA missed his clearance date”. Dante said in a note to Charania that he will re-enroll at Oregon on Dec. 14 for winter term.
“I left my home four years ago with a dream and three goals: Graduate from high school, attend university, and play college basketball. None of that has changed,” Dante wrote. “On December 14, 2019, I plan to enroll and play college basketball with the University of Oregon. I have completed my academic requirements and am currently waiting for NCAA Eligibility process to finalize. We are hopeful this will conclude soon and have asked the NCAA to keep my goal of a December 14, 2019 enrollment date in mind. Every prospective student athlete that purchases an NCAA Eligibility Center ID, regardless of their gender or origin, should be entitled to a timely and transparent process that is in line with the student’s targeted enrollment date.”
Oregon opens the season at home against Fresno State on Nov. 5. Dante will also miss games against Boise State, Memphis, UT Arlington, Houston, Hawaii and the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
If he enrolls on Dec. 14, that is the day that Oregon visits Michigan so it is unlikely he would play in that game. He would be more likely to debut on Dec. 18 against Montana and also play against Texas Southern and Alabama State before Oregon opens Pac-12 play at Colorado on Jan. 2.
“He’s a talented young man who has been here in the states for three years, so I hope it works out,” Altman said last week.
Dante, who is 6-foot-11, 230 pounds, was ranked as a Top-20 prospect in the Class of 2020 by Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports before graduating early to move up one year in classification. He picked Oregon over Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas.
Dante was named the most valuable player at the Peach Jam AAU tournament last summer when he had 22 points and 18 rebounds in the title game to lead his Kansas City-based Mokan Elite team to a championship. He averaged 18.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in six games at the elite showcase event.
“He’s put on a lot of weight in the last year so that should help him,” Altman said last month. “He is long and athletic. It is going to take him a while to adjust to the college game, but he should do alright.”
Oregon returns sophomore Francis Okoro up front and has added graduate transfer Shakur Juiston from UNLV. Freshman Chandler Lawson, C.J. Walker and Lok Wur join the front court while Oregon waits for Dante to arrive.