The No. 1 player in the 2026 class A.J. Dybansta dishes on recent offers

Krysten Peek chats with the 6-7 guard to get the latest on his recruitment at the U16 USA Basketball tryouts.

Video Transcript

KRYSTEN PEEK: I'm Krysten Peek here with AJ Dybansta. We're at USA basketball u-16 tryouts. AJ is one of the top players in the 2026 class. AJ, just being here at USA these last couple of days, this is a really competitive group. How do you think you've been playing so far?

AJ DYBANSTA: Pretty well. Obviously good enough to be one of the finalists. But I still have a lot to improve on.

KRYSTEN PEEK: I mean, you're a 20-- you're a player in the 2026 class. You're playing with guys up a division with players that are in the 2025 class. How have you elevated your game these last few days to try to show that you should be on this team?

AJ DYBANSTA: Everybody here was the man on their team. So playing, co-existing with other players that are as my caliber or even better will potentially get me a spot on this team. So just being a leader and playmaker for other guys.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Anyone surprised you at all? I mean, I know you're probably getting used to playing against some of these guys because they're the top in your class or the class ahead of you. But anybody surprising you or?

AJ DYBANSTA: I was with them at both camps. So everybody's the same. Everybody's here. And the NBA scouts are here. And I know that they got a first glimpse of you in October. I feel like that's when that was their introduction to you. But one question. Do you get nervous at all knowing that the NBA guys are here watching you guys at all?

AJ DYBANSTA: I used to get-- PCM, my first PCM, I used to get so-- I was in eighth grade playing up. It was NBA scouts. It was college scouts. I used to get so scared. And the more I just playing, it was just like playing like I'm just going to have fun with it.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Are you focused on showing them any sort of progression in your game, just from every time that they see you, you want to make sure that you're elevating your game and getting better?

AJ DYBANSTA: Yeah, sure. If you're not getting better, then what's the point of playing? So definitely elevating my game every time they come watch me.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Where have you seen the most growth in your game from the end of the high school season to now?

AJ DYBANSTA: Playmaking. You know, I used to just really just try to score. But I'm really a playmaker. I get a lot of assists, hockey assists, and finding my teammates.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah. I mean. Like you said, playmaking. You're such a slasher. And you have such good reads off the defense. But your shooting is also-- I'm seeing improvement in that.


KRYSTEN PEEK: Is that a focus as well?

AJ DYBANSTA: I worked on that a lot. I've been on the gun. I don't think it was healthy how much I've been on the gun. I was just shooting on with my trainer Brandon Ball. So.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Like how many shots would you get?

AJ DYBANSTA: A lot. I can't even, I can't even remember. It will be-- we'll have a workout, and then we'll have a second one just shooting.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Oh yeah. OK, and the recruitment process. I mean, I know you're only a rising sophomore. But you are getting a lot of attention, a lot of early offers. How is that whole process going for you?

AJ DYBANSTA: It was nerve wracking, but it's a process that I have to enjoy. Not a lot of people have the opportunity to get recruited by high recruited school. So it's a blessing.

KRYSTEN PEEK: What are some of the most recent offers that you've gotten?

AJ DYBANSTA: I got all of them. I had one offer at BC, and then I got all of my session after session one. So I got Michigan, UConn, Georgia Tech, Washington.


AJ DYBANSTA: Alabama, Georgetown, Providence.

KRYSTEN PEEK: With UConn, I mean, they just won a national title. What was it like to get an offer from that program, knowing that the head coach there believes that you could fit that winning culture?

AJ DYBANSTA: Obviously, a blessing. Any offer is a blessing. But they just won a national championship, which means they're the best team in the country. So blessed to be looked after by them.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Any team that you grew up a fan of?

AJ DYBANSTA: Not really. I never had a dream school really because I always thought you had to go to the visits to see the-- what is it called? What's it called? The play style.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

AJ DYBANSTA: Yeah, see the play style, how you fit into it. So, yeah.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Is there-- what do you think about the Pro? Option and the G League Ignite, or Overtime Elite, or anything like that? Are you-- would you think you would go down that route and look into that? Or are you more focused on college?

AJ DYBANSTA: I promised my mom I'll do at least one year of college.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Got it. OK, mom knows best. All right. Well, AJ, thank you so much--

AJ DYBANSTA: Thank you for having me.

KRYSTEN PEEK: For your time. More information on AJ Dybansta, keep it right here on Yahoo Sports.