basketball Edit

Duke wins out with five-star Paolo Banchero

Paolo Banchero
Paolo Banchero (

In the conversation for the best prospect in the 2021 class, Paolo Banchero came off the board on Thursday evening. The five-star committed to Duke, giving the Blue Devils a ready-made, dominant force along the frontline.

“A lot of people say different things about Duke but one of the main things that stands out to me is that they have three straight years that they have had the National Freshman of the Year, I think,” Banchero told before previewing what he might be able to accomplish next year. “Being able to come in as a freshman and to play through my mistakes and play a lot and them setting me up for success.”

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

2022 Rankings: Top 75


The second-rated prospect in the 2021 class and the second best power forward in America, Banchero is a monstrous pick-up for the Blue Devils. Reminiscent of former Duke standout Carlos Boozer, Banchero is one of the few that could conceivably step in as a freshman and be relied upon as the central figure of one’s offense in competing for a league and national title.

Coach K talks to me all the time about how he coached LeBron (James) and Kevin Durant all on the same team and all those great basketball players and getting them to gel together and he just tells me that I could come in with a great group of guys who would be coming in with me and who would already be there and that I would fit in perfectly and have the chance to have the ball in my hands,” Banchero went on to say. “One thing that they have stressed is that you will have the ball in your hands a lot, especially as a player like me that can pass and all that stuff.”

Banchero becomes Duke’s second pick-up in the 2021 class. The Blue Devils had already celebrated the commitment of top-10 wing AJ Griffin. They remain involved for some of the best shooting talent available including Trevor Keels, Pat Baldwin and Caleb Houstan.