“Are they even good” “Gotta be a real NIL deal” - Fans react to 2025 5-star AJ Dybantsa’s surprising transfer to Utah prep

Syndication: Enterprise News
AJ Dybantsa’s surprising transfer to Utah prep

AJ Dybantsa, the No. 1 basketball recruit in the class of 2025, is making headlines with his decision on Friday to transfer to Utah Prep in Hurricane, Utah, for his senior year. Dybantsa, a 6-foot-7 forward, previously showcased his talents at Prolific Prep in Napa, California, and is the top-ranked player on the ESPN 100.

Utah Prep, previously known as Real Salt Lake, recently rebranded and shifted its focus toward enhancing its basketball program.

Fans on Instagram have been quick to react to this surprising transfer. Comments ranged from skepticism about the school's capabilities to speculation about potential NIL deals influencing the move. One fan questioned:

“Are they even good?”

Another quipped:

“Gotta be a real NIL deal."
Ig@slam_hs
Ig@slam_hs

A few fans questioned the financial incentives involved in his decision to join Utah Prep:

Ig@ slam_hs
Ig@ slam_hs

Others speculated about the influence of a Nike deal on his decision to leave an Adidas-affiliated school:

Ig@slam_hs
Ig@slam_hs

The addition of Dybantsa, who holds offers from prestigious programs such as Alabama, Baylor, UConn, Duke, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Providence and USC, marks a significant milestone for the school.

Joining other nationally ranked players, including 2025 point guard JJ Mandequit and 2026 four-star prospects Anthony Felesi and Gavin Placide, Dybantsa's presence elevates Utah Prep's profile in high school basketball.

Leading Utah Prep is coach L.J. Yamzon, who will guide Dybantsa through his final high school season. The academic aspect of the program is overseen by Sam Gibbs, the academic dean at Utah Prep.

Gibbs brings valuable experience from his tenure with MLS club Real Salt Lake, where he managed the academics for one of the top developmental systems in the United States.

With AJ Dybantsa's transfer, Utah Prep is poised to become a sought-after destination for event directors nationwide, eager to feature top basketball talent. This move not only strengthens Utah Prep's competitive edge but also signals its ambition to become a powerhouse in high school basketball.

AJ Dybantsa reclassified and reignited Kentucky's interest

Originally part of the class of 2026, AJ Dybantsa reclassified to 2025 last fall, swiftly claiming the top spot due to his exceptional size, athleticism and skill. This spring, he is shining in Nike's EYBL, averaging 22.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, according to Synergy. Playing alongside 2026's No. 2 ranked player, Tyran Stokes, Dybantsa continues to impress.

Despite a leadership change, Kentucky has maintained its pursuit of AJ Dybantsa.

"Mark Pope is here (in Indianapolis at EYBL Session III), he told me he’d be here,” Dybantsa told KSR of On3. “He called my dad, I hopped on the phone with them and we had a little chat. When we hopped on the call, I received the offer… I had (John) Calipari first, and now, I’ve been re-offered by Pope.”

Other top programs like Duke, Arkansas, Southern California, and UConn are also vying for his commitment. Ranked No. 1 overall in the class of 2025 by the On3 Industry Ranking, the 6-foot-9 wing is considered one of the best high school recruits in the nation.

With the Oakland Soldiers (9-1) on the Nike EYBL circuit, AJ Dybantsa averages 23 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, boasting shooting splits of 54.8% from the field, 39.3% from the 3-point line and 81.6% from the free-throw line.

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