ATHENS — While the Georgia basketball team awaits word on a power forward named Yante, it has reeled in a power forward named Kante: That would be Isaac Kante, a product of Brooklyn who announced Tuesday that he will sign with UGA.
Kante, listed at 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, chose Georgia over other offers from St. John’s, Georgetown, Kansas State, St. Bonaventure and Old Dominion, according to Zagsblog. He is listed as a three-star recruit by 247Sports.
“We really felt like we needed to add another frontline player,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said in a release. “Isaac is a strong, versatile player with a big motor. We’re very excited about him joining our team.”
At least for now, this would fill Georgia’s final scholarship slot. That would change if Yante Maten, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last year, decides to stay in the NBA draft.
Maten has declared for the draft without signing with an agent, and has until May 24 to withdraw his name. While it has not been officially announced, it appears Maten was not among the 60-70 players who received an invite to the NBA combine, which takes place next week.
Kante is the fourth member of Georgia’s signing class. The team has also signed forward Rayshaun Hammonds (a top 50 overall prospect), forward Nicolas Claxton and guard Teshaun Hightower.
The Bulldogs’ pursuit of Kante was not seen as a sign of pessimism about Maten returning. It was more about depth in the post: Maten would be a senior next year, Derek Ogbeide and Mike Edwards will be juniors. So will E’Torrion Wilridge, a 6-7 forward who played power forward near the end of last year. Hammonds (who is around 6-7) can play both forward positions, as can Claxton (who is around 6-10), but Claxton may be more of a small forward.
Kante, meantime, is regarded as more of a pure post player, along the lines of Ogbeide. Listed at 6-8 and 220 pounds, Kante is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., and has been attending school in Putnam, Conn. He averaged 11 points and six rebounds per game for Putnam Science Academy. Kante started 40 of 41 games last season and became the team’s third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder. He shot a team-best 63 percent from the field.