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Paolo Banchero Commits to the Duke Blue Devils

One of the biggest dominoes in the 2021 basketball recruiting class has fallen. Paolo Banchero committed to the Duke Blue Devils in a surprise commitment last week. Banchero is unanimously considered a top-three recruit and is ranked third on 247 sports.

Paolo Banchero Commits to the Duke Blue Devils

Paolo Banchero Commitment

Banchero is from O’Dea, Washington. The 6’9 forward cut his list down to Duke, Kentucky, Washington, Gonzaga, Tennessee, and Arizona, but ultimately went with the Blue Devils.

This commitment is surprising because Banchero wanted to play with Kennedy Chandler. Chandler, a point guard, recently committed to the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee never seemed to be a major player for Banchero, but the Chandler signing made it likely that Banchero would stay close to home or sign with Kentucky.

Banchero even received several pleas from guys like Isaiah Thomas and Jamal Crawford, Washington natives, to stay close and wear that purple Washington Huskies jersey.

According to Banchero, Duke just felt like the right place to be and he wanted to commit quickly because of the stress involved in the recruiting process. He cited the “freedom they would give him,” as a major reason for choosing the Blue Devils.

Paolo Banchero Skillset

Mike Krzyzewski will not give freedom to just any player. It takes a special and talented player, like a Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Grant Hill, and so on, to garner that confidence.

Banchero has the body and size of a forward but has the ball skills of a guard. He is a true modern-day forward that can do everything on the offensive end. Versatile does not even begin to describe his game.

Offensively, Banchero is a three-level scorer. His athleticism and size make him a great finisher at the rim. His ability to handle the ball makes him a dangerous mid-range player. Finally, his shooting stroke is more than good enough to make defenses respect him.

Defensively, Banchero is a great rim protector. He will have some highlight blocks and control the paint. In addition, he is athletic enough and can move his feet well when switched onto guards. Again, versatility is his best skill.

Krzyzewski does not take comparisons lightly. He recently compared Banchero to Shane Battier. Battier is one of the all-time greats at Duke. For Duke fans, that comparison should make you giddy. If Banchero has half the impact Battier did, Duke will be dangerous in 2021.

What is Next for the Duke Blue Devils

Duke loves to refer to their “Brotherhood.” Essentially, Duke relies on former players and currently signed recruits to bring additional talent to Durham. Banchero is already hard at work. In an interview with ESPN, Banchero stated he wants to play with Patrick Baldwin and Trevor Keels, who both are heavily coveted by Duke.

In addition to those two stars, Duke is also trying to add Caleb Houstan and Charles Bediako. Most likely, they will miss on one of these guys, but even then, the recruiting class rivals that of 2019. AJ Griffin is already committed and is a top-five player in the class which means Duke has two of the top five commits already. Adding a third makes them the clear top recruiting class.

Banchero plus Baldwin and Keels will instantly become the best trio in college basketball. If Jeremy Roach stays for his sophomore season, Duke is the favorite to win the National Championship, regardless of what happens elsewhere in the country. These guys are that good.

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