Duke basketball: Arizona spells trouble for Blue Devils in recruiting race

Duke basketball (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

A late challenger has suddenly emerged in the Duke basketball recruiters’ pursuit of one of the country’s top juniors.

In September, O’Dea (Wash.) five-star power forward Paolo Banchero announced nine finalists: Duke, Baylor, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Memphis, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington. Months later, in his SI blog, the coveted Duke basketball target added Michigan, making an even 10 on his list.

ALSO READ: Time for Duke recruiting to flex on FaceTime

Then, after receiving a new offer on Saturday, the No. 4 prospect on the 247Sports 2021 Composite made an odd addition. Banchero’s evening tweet definitely gave followers of Arizona’s notorious recruiting game a reason to be optimistic and should give at least some cause for concern to his longtime suitors.

The 247Sports Crystal Ball shows Banchero, who took an official visit to Duke in October, ending up at nearby Washington, both his parents’ alma mater. But no recent picks exist. And that may stay the case until the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Seattle native trims his list, which he claimed in his January blog could happen July-ish (bear in mind, though, that was before recruiting went on lockdown due to current world happenings).

Here’s how Ball Durham summed up Banchero’s game in light of his blog shoutout to former Duke post master Carlos Boozer, who had recently shown up to see him play:

“Banchero has a strong base, powerful presence, and advanced footwork to go along with a smooth mid-range jumper. Of course, Banchero possesses a bit more hops and range than Boozer, yet he carries around 20 or so fewer pounds; nevertheless, both the 2001 national champ and 2013-14 one-and-done Jabari Parker are probably the closest Duke basketball comparisons.”

ALSO READ: The 100 greatest Blue Devils under Coach K

The Blue Devils already hold a 2021 commitment from Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward A.J. Griffin and are in the hunt for Banchero’s buddy, Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) point guard Kennedy Chandler.

ALSO READ: Insider forecasts Duke to land five-star 2021 prospect

Others from the class with Duke offers are Rolling Meadows (Ill.) shooting guard Max Christie, Paul VI Catholic (Va.) shooting guard Trevor Keels, Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., The Patrick School (N.J.) small forward Jonathan Kuminga, and Andrews Osborne (Ohio) center Charles Bediako.

light. Related Story. Naming a 2021 Duke dream class

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more Duke basketball recruiting updates, analyses, opinions, and predictions.