Freshman AJ Dybantsa 


Jordan Richard

AJ Dybantsa is one of the most publicized and acknowledged players of the 2026 class heading into the USA men’s basketball camp. This was a player I was very interested in seeing for the first time. Nowadays with social media highlights, you see a lot of dunks and nice moves, but I wanted to see what his reads look like and how good he was in person. 


As soon as the scrimmages started on day 1 of the camp, Dybantsa made a point of emphasis to guard the best players on each team, picking them up full court.  He started guarding Darryn Peterson, a player that is one of the coldest offensively so far in the 2025 class as well as Isaiah Harwell another top player in the 2025 class. That defensive mindset was consistent all three days; causing turnovers and making plays on the defensive end. 


“I’m high ranked and they’re both high ranked so we’re willing to compete. We have to get each other better because we are going to be on the same team at the end of the day with Team USA, “Dybantsa explained. “I want to get myself better on the defensive end because that’s one of my flaws right now.”


Dybantsa also played a lot on the wing offensively, which I like for him.  He has a lot of time to really develop the aspect of his game alongside his handle. During the camp, Dybantsa had nice buckets getting downhill and made great reads, kicking out to the 3 after a paint touch. 


One of the best parts of Dybantsa’s story is how he is trying to keep Terrence Clarke’s memory alive. Clarke was one of the top players in the country until he tragically lost his life in 2021. “He called me his lil bro. Every time he came back home, we would work out together on Vine Street. We have the same trainer and coaches. That was my dawg, “Dybantsa said, “I’m keeping his legacy alive.” 


For those who don’t know, Clarke is also from Massachusetts and was a promising young basketball player who played for the Kentucky Wildcats in college and had declared for the NBA Draft.  Tragically, he passed away on April 22, 2021, in a car accident in Los Angeles, California where he was preparing for the NBA Draft. Clarke, like Dybantsa, was one of the top basketball players in the country in high school and also played for Team USA.  After the camp was over, I was really impressed with Dybantsa. He is a good kid with a nice future. Dybantsa starts his next big chapter of his AAU season on April 21 in Atlanta.