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Meet AJ Dybantsa: The Best Massachusetts Prospect since Patrick Ewing

(Photo by Matt Stone/ Media News Group/ Boston Herald)

There’s been a lot of talk of “Who’s Got Next?” as the next great prospect in basketball, with Victor Wembanyama now in the NBA. No.1 ranked forward in the Class of 2024 (recently re-classified), Maine native, Cooper Flagg. Flagg has gone viral this summer with his otherworldly statistical production on the Nike EYBL Circuit, which included an EYBL record 52 points, the SLAM All-Star Game, Jayson Tatum’s Camp, and so forth while displaying elite ability on both ends that's rarely seen from a kid his age.

He’s deserving of the hype. But, another kid in the Northeast is getting a lot of buzz as a potential generational prospect himself, hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, perhaps the best from the area since NBA legend Patrick Ewing, and that is the No.1 ranked forward from the Class of 2026, AJ Dybantsa.

Dybantsa is a 16-year-old 6-foot-8, 196 lb small forward wing with the arms of a Deinocheirus, measuring with a nearly 7’0 wingspan… And he’s not even close to being done growing!

He attacks the basket with ferocity (like someone stole his lunch money) on every drive like a Giannis Antetokounmpo, displaying his elite athletic ability, and willingness to seek and play through contact. Hustles on defense by guarding the opposing team's best player Kawhi Leonard, and has a smooth offensive game like Kevin Durant.

At Saint Sebastian’s last season as a freshman, Dybantsa showed his ability by averaging 19.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game en route to being named the Massachusetts Boys’ Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year where he led his team to the NEPSAC Class A state championship, but lost in a 77-76 nail biter to Milton Academy.

He shot 60.8% from the field and 41% from three his freshman season. Despite a good showing during his freshman season, Dybantsa took his production to a higher level on the EYBL circuit at the Nike Peach Jam this past summer for the Expressions Elite, producing a stat line of 25.8 points (led Peach Jam), 5.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.

Whether it’s hitting a casual rhythm three, taking the ball coast to coast off the rim and finishing strong in transition, or creating an easy shot for a teammate. Dybantsa is truly a special prospect who seems destined for greatness as he displays the hunger to be great with his absurd work ethic, working out with many NBA legends/ Future Hall of Famers this summer such as Durant, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Paul George.

This is a guy who’s gone for 73 points in a game before, albeit being an All-Star game in his middle school days where there’s little resistance but still impressive nonetheless he has the endurance, skill, and ability to do so.

Dybantsa, to me, is the second-best NBA prospect overall regardless of class on the high school level currently behind Flagg, with Cameron Boozer right after him. Is he the next great player out of Boston? Can he become the next transformational wing who’s getting comparisons to KD and Kawhi?

Dybantsa is set to join Prolific Prep this season alongside a contemporary in No.2 ranked Class of 2026 forward Tyran Stokes. I wouldn’t put it past the “Marvel from Massachusetts” as the Next Big Thing, who has a great head on his shoulders and is a high-character kid with an abnormal work ethic. Dybantsa could reclassify to the Class of 2025 due to his age (turns 17 in December), but regardless of whatever draft he’s in a franchise will be lucky to have him as one of the next pillars of the game.

Is AJ Dybantsa the next transformational NBA Forward?

  • Yes, this kid is special!

  • Want to see more, but he's promising

  • That's Cooper Flagg


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