On Wednesday night, Pitt’s Tim O’Toole visited South Kent School’s game to watch 2023 prospect Papa Kante, one of the top big men in the 2023 class.
Kante is a 6-foot-10 center who is ranked as the No. 93 player in the nation and the No. 9 center in the nation by 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings.
“He’s an inside-outside forward,” Kante’s coach Raphael Chillious told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “He’s not a five, he’s not a four, he’s a forward. He’s able to make shots all the way out to the three, and he really affects the game on both ends of the court with his length. In the paint, he blocks shots and gets every rebound. He’s tireless. He doesn’t get tired. Probably the best hedging big in ball screens that I have seen in a long, long time.”
Kante is a very unique prospect in that he just started playing basketball just three years ago. Hailing from Senegal, he made his way over to the U.S. and has now become one of the most intriguing prospects in the nation. Since coming over to the states, he has improved many facets of his game, specifically his inside skill set.
“He could always shoot,” Chillious added. “That’s one thing he could do. His shot has gotten better, but the big thing was that he has gotten better at being around the basket. When we first got him, he was more of just a face-up guy. He’s gotten better around the basket and just his level of understanding basketball at a high level. It’s much higher now, because it’s just his third year of playing basketball, ever.”
Papa Kante is developing into the ideal modern day big but remains a throwback w/ an ELITE work ethic! @papaamadoukante put his strong hands, ever-improving stroke, 7’5”wingspan & relentless heart on display in @SouthKentHoops win over Bridgton at the NE Hoops League tip-off… pic.twitter.com/7O4OMymAV1
— Mike Yagmin (@MikeYagmin) January 23, 2022
Kante holds offers from Michigan, Kansas, Tennessee, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Iowa, Pitt, and more, and is seeing his recruitment blow up day by day. Chillous, as his coach, has witnessed first-hand the recruiting process for Kante, and commented on the state of his recruitment as of now.
“All the schools that you read are the same,” Chillous said. “I think Michigan has been working the hardest. Juwan Howard talks to him more than anyone, but he has so many big-time schools recruiting him. Pitt obviously has a bit of an advantage with Gilbert Brown being my assistant last year here, so Gilbert used to work with him, so that can’t hurt.”
“He’s an unbelievable kid,” Chillous said about Kante off the court. “Nicest kid you’ll ever meet. Animal on the court, but he’s super nice, he’s smart, well-spoken, everybody loves him.”