Been quite the last week or so in the news for Husker athletics. Football is back, basketball starts in about 2 months officially. The perfect time to preview more Nebrasketball players.
So, you want to know more about the “Canadian Wonder” (nickname in progress) that will most likely start for our Nebraska Cornhuskers at the point guard spot? Let’s meet Dalano Banton.
Banton, originally from Toronto, was a four-star coming out of high school in New York. He ended up reclassifying after graduating early and playing in an All-Candian high school all-star game. While he got a couple Power Five offers from Minnesota Golden Gophers and Kansas State Wildcats, he wasn’t highly recruited and ended up becoming a Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
As a freshman Hilltopper, Banton played in 31 games, making 12 starts. While he only averaged 3.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, you could clearly see his tantalizing versatility when he did get extended minutes.
Look no further than Western Kentucky’s win over a top-15 Wisconsin squad. Banton played 38 minutes and nearly got a triple-double, only shy by one bucket. He finished the game with eight points, ten assists, and 13 rebounds. It’s that versatility that will make him an interesting floor general for Coach Hoiberg.
One area that Banton did struggle with in his lone year at WKU was scoring, specifically shooting non-layups. While his FG percentage was not ideal at 40%, it was his three-point shooting (21.6%) and free-throw shooting (55.9%) that was abysmal.
There are two ways to look at how Hoiberg will attack this. I think the result will land somewhere in between. Option one is to surround Banton with shooters, such as Teddy Allen, Kobe Webster, Thor, and even Lat Mayen who will allow him to simply run and work the offense, without shouldering the scoring burden.
The second option is to use this past year as an opportunity for Banton to work on that shooting game, so he can at least be threatening from three-point range and free throws. That way, if he does have those opportunities he can be reliable enough.
By all reports and news we have heard from practices, Hoiberg worked with Dalano on his shooting woes over his year off due to transfer rules. Most people are also expecting him to take the keys to the offense, surrounded by some good shooters and scorers. I even came across a tweet saying Banton would be the second-Husker ever to notch a triple-double.
While I don’t want to go too bold (like I did with Teddy Allen), I do like Banton’s potential in Hoiberg’s offense, as long as everything clicks with the shooters around him. Forced to be the number one option to score? He may struggle. Get those other guys going? He will be smooth.
Plus, this dunk is cool.