WKU signee impresses at the Wes Strader Classic

WKU basketball signee Dalano Banton of Redemption Christian Academy appeared at Warren Central High School playing in the Wes Strader Schoolboy Classic at Warren Central High School on February 10, 2018. Banton is rated as a four-star prospect by rivals.com and 247Sports.

Alec Jessie

The top-ranked WKU signee for the 2018 class took his talents to the hardwood in Bowling Green for the first time last weekend as four-star guard Dalano Banton played in the Wes Strader Schoolboy Classic.

Banton, a 6-foot-6 point guard from Troy, New York, was the marquee player at the third annual Wes Strader Classic, hosted by Warren Central High School. Banton very much enjoyed the atmosphere and the opportunity to play in front of Hilltopper fans for the first time.

“This is a very good environment,” Banton said. “A lot of people came out. I really like the environment for it just being a high school game.”

While Banton’s Redemption Christian Academy fell to Cooper High School 75-60, Banton gave the Bowling Green community a taste of what he can do with the ball in his hands.

He spread his production all over the stat sheet, tallying 17 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Banton is taller than most point guards, and he thinks his abnormal height gives him an edge over his competition. That height advantage showed during Saturday’s strong performance.

“It causes a lot of mismatches for other point guards,” Banton said. “I can see over the defense, so it allows me to make better passes and better plays.”

Previously a part of the 2019 class, Banton reclassified up a year in order to get to the collegiate level earlier. He said the transition has been smooth and it has made him a better player, beyond just his basketball skills.

“Now being a leader, my confidence level is up,” Banton said. “And having to lead a team helped me a lot. Knowing I’m going to college next year pushes me to produce as much as I can during my last high school season.”

According to the 247 Sports industry rankings, Banton is a four-star player and a top-100 recruit. But instead of waiting for high-major schools to recruit him, Banton signed in November with the Hilltoppers. He attributed a similar timeline both he and WKU had as a major factor in why he signed with the school.

“We had the same time frame,” Banton said. “Everyone thinks staying in high school another year is the best way to prepare for college basketball. But I felt if I go 2018 and go into college, I’ll be getting high level training I need in order to get my body right.”

Banton believes the pace that this year’s Hilltoppers play with is a strong fit for how he runs a team as a point guard.

“They like to play fast as well and move the ball,” Banton said. “I think that’s a good fit for me. From passing the ball, getting everyone involved, also trying to score for myself, it all plays into my versatility. I think they can help me use my strengths and limit my weaknesses.”

While Banton is a very talented player, he knows there is much to improve on, and the reclassification to 2018 will present some obstacles along the way.

“One of my weaknesses is trying to keep shorter, faster players out of the lane,” Banton said. “I want to try to contest every shot at the backboard. I also want to work on my jump shot and getting that more consistent.”

Banton visited WKU later on Saturday and was in Diddle Arena for the Hilltoppers’ win against Florida International University.

Banton and RCA played a second game in-state against Monroe County High School. RCA won 89-76.

Sports reporter Alec Jessie can be reached at 502-648-7190 and [email protected] Follow Alec on Twitter at @Alec_Jessie.