In small-ball lineups, which Mike Krzyzewski seems to be gravitating toward, O’Dea (Wash.) junior Paolo Banchero could play center. In fact, the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Seattle native seems to already possess the necessary strength, motor, and footwork to hold his own in the paint at the major-conference level.
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Considering he has a stellar perimeter game for a guy his size to boot, he’d also be a nightmare for true centers to chase around the court. And taking into account the consistent chatter the past six months between himself and Kennedy Chandler about joining forces in college, Banchero is no doubt a critical target for the Blue Devils.
Prior to his official visit in October, where he attended Countdown to Craziness, Banchero named nine favorites: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Memphis, Gonzaga, Baylor, Georgetown, and Washington (the alma mater of both his parents and the current leader inside his 247Sports Crystal Ball). Five of those finalists appear on Chandler’s list as well: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Memphis.
Like Chandler, Banchero has repeatedly indicated that he is likely to make up his mind on a school in time to sign early. But if the Blue Devils are serious about being the school of choice, then they may want to cash in their frequent-flyer miles now in order to match all the personalized attention he has been receiving from Kentucky’s John Calipari of late.
And that brings us to the final piece — another five-star who is attracting loads of blueblood suitors — to what would be yet another Duke basketball dream class…