Utah Prep announces nation's top recruit will transfer to Hurricane-based program

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SALT LAKE CITY — The No. 1 recruit in the country will play his final season of prep basketball in Utah.

Utah Prep, the basketball academy formerly known as RSL basketball, announced Friday morning that AJ Dybantsa will play his senior season with the program as it moves to a permanent home in Southern Utah.

The 6-foot-9, 200-pound small forward is the consensus top-rated recruit in the country, with offers from all of the biggest blue bloods like Arkansas, Duke, Michigan, UConn and USC, among many others.

Mark Pope re-offered Dybantsa shortly after he was introduced at Kentucky. Two days ago, Dybantsa revealed that he had received an offer from the University of Utah.

Now, he'll be spending a year a few hours south on I-15 from the Huntsman Center.

Who is AJ Dybantsa?

Widely considered the top basketball prospect in the Class of 2025, the five-star Dybantsa reclassified from the Class of 2026 and has surged up recruiting rankings at 247Sports, On3 and more ever since.

The 6-foot-9 wing broke out in 10 games on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 23 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game for Oakland Soldiers at the grassroots level.

A native of Brockton, Massachussetts, Dybantsa spent last season at Prolific Prep in Napa, California, where he helped guide the team to a fourth consecutive national tournament appearance.

He's said he plans to trim his offer list after Peach Jam in July, according to On3, with official visits to begin in the fall.

What is Utah Prep?

Originally RSL Basketball under former coach Dave Evans, Utah Prep rebranded and split off from the organization two years ago following NBA executives David Blitzer and Ryan Smith's acquisition of the Major League Soccer franchise. The move was due to NBA regulations that prevent league owners from being involved in basketball operations beneath the NBA G League level, current RSL employees and former RSL Basketball staffers have told KSL.com.

The program functioned autonomously for a few years, while partnering with Mount Vernon's online educational courses for schoolwork and even launching a postgrad program that played other local and regional postgrad operations (like Layton Christian) and exhibition games against junior colleges.

Utah signee David Katoa played for the academy before transferring home to spend his senior season at Layton, and the program currently boasts several other top prospects including four-star guard (and BYU target) JJ Mandaquit, a native of Hawaii.

The program is not sanctioned for postseason play by the Utah High School Activities Association and ineligible to play for state championships, competing as an independent — similar to Wasatch Academy, which competes in the Nike EYBL Scholastic (formerly NIBC).

Where will Utah Prep play in 2024-25?

Utah Prep recently announced plans to move to a newly acquired campus in Hurricane to house the academy's nationally recognized basketball program beginning with the 2024-25 academic year.

The 55-acre campus is set on the former site of Diamond Ranch Academy, the high school and residential teen treatment center that closed down after the Utah Department of Health and Human Services declined to renew its license last year. Utah Prep will repurpose the campus as "a centerpiece for the school's expansion to the St. George area, where school admins plans to ensure athletics and academics continue to grow and flourish," according to a school announcement.

The program is also finalizing plans for a girls basketball and golf program soon. The school's website hints that "volleyball, tennis and other athletic undertakings will call Utah Prep home," as well.

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