Former top-100 recruit Dalano Banton commits to Nebraska basketball

LINCOLN — Nebraska announced Wednesday that it has signed 6-foot-8, 195-pound transfer Dalano Banton from Western Kentucky.

Banton will sit out one season and have three years of eligibility. In 31 games as a freshman at Western Kentucky, Banton averaged just 3.2 points per contest, but nearly had a triple-double against Wisconsin in December with eight points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

The main draw to Nebraska, he said, was not on the court, but off.

“When I opened my recruitment, Nebraska reached out to me and ever since then we built that relationship, not just a coach to player but more like man to man,” Banton said. “Just knowing that, aside from basketball, if I’m having an off day I have the chance to talk to someone and walk into Coach’s office and we can talk about it. Knowing I can have that, it felt so loving when I went on my visit.”

NU coach Fred Hoiberg said in a press release that Banton “brings a lot to the table with his combination of size and skill set.”

“At 6-foot-8, he will be a tough matchup for opponents, as we can take advantage of his size and passing ability,” Hoiberg said. “He has shown the ability to play at a high level and having a year to grow and develop in our program will put Dalano in position to make an immediate impact when he becomes eligible.”

Nebraska now has 12 players on scholarship, with just one spot left. There are two scholarships left if Isaiah Roby decides to stay in the NBA draft.

Banton is Hoiberg’s fourth transfer signed in the last month. Banton joins Haanif Cheatham from Florida Gulf Coast, Matej Kavas from Seattle University and Cam Mack from Salt Lake (Utah) Community College. Banton and Mack officially visited last weekend.

Originally from Canada, Banton was the No. 92 prospect out of high school, according to the 247sports composite. Growing up, he always kept a close eye on the NCAA tournament, so he knew about NU because of the Huskers’ 2013-14 tournament bid.

The plan for Banton is to hit the weight room hard over the next 12 months, he said, and to approach every practice like a game.

“I’m just going to use it as a year for working out and getting better,” Banton said. “My games are going to be getting stronger and really trying to improve in everything I’m asked to do, so when I do come back I can be at my best.”

Playing in the Big Ten was a huge draw for Banton, especially after playing Wisconsin this season. After that game — an 83-76 loss — he realized he could compete in a major conference.

“I know personally that I can play with these guys,” Banton said. “I feel like my best ability is just the feel of the game, to facilitate and get people open shots and just using my versatility on the defensive end to rebound. And to go push the ball up the floor and get people open shots in transition.”

Banton will be in Lincoln as soon as he can — probably in June.

“Nebraska was everything I was looking for,” he said. “It checked off all my boxes, and I just knew I had to be part of it.”

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