As an A-list prospect continues to discuss a timeline for trimming his list to five, the Duke basketball recruiting team has a chance to turn up its creative charm.
Seeing that the game-changing COVID-19 pandemic came with an indefinite timeline, waiting around on the next opportunity to host Duke basketball targets for in-person visits could be the equivalent of Mike Krzyzewski and his staff bowing out of battles for 2021 recruits.
Fortunately for those Duke fans who enjoy rooting for five-stars, passivity does not seem to be part of Coach K & Co.’s plan, at least not in regards to O’Dea (Was.) power forward Paolo Banchero, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior who ranks No. 4 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite. According to the Seattle native’s Monday chat with Stock Risers recruiting insider Jake Weingarten, he has slated for this week a linkup with the staff in Durham via a virtual call — i.e., an improvised visit.
This relatively encouraging Duke basketball recruiting news comes two days after Banchero added the infamous suitors from Arizona to what was previously his collection of 10 finalists: Duke, Baylor, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.
But coaches from six of the above schools remain in contention to land more than just one year of Banchero’s deep toolbox of talent and ideal natural build to own either the high or low post. That’s because he has repeatedly mentioned the thought of a package deal with his good pal, Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) point guard Kennedy Chandler, whose 10 favorites also include Duke, Kentucky, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Therefore, even though Banchero attended Countdown to Craziness during an official visit to Duke in October, it’s important the Blue Devils maximize what should be some sort of virtual tour. They must find clever ways to remind the 17-year-old what all the nation’s most-watched program has to offer his future-lottery-pick game and, potentially, the complementary skillset of his five-star friend.
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Both Banchero and Chandler anticipate cutting their lists in half before their senior seasons begin. Neither, though, has given a definitive timeframe for ultimately choosing a college.
Coach K and his assistants have already snagged a 2021 commitment from Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward A.J. Griffin. Duke offers are also still on the table to Paul VI Catholic (Va.) five-star shooting guard Trevor Keels, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) five-star shooting guard Max Christie, The Patrick School (N.J.) five-star small forward Jonathan Kuminga, Hamilton (Wis.) five-star small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., and Andrews Osborne (Ohio) four-star center Charles Bediako.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.