Predicting Duke basketball target’s upcoming final six

Duke basketball freshman Paolo Banchero (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Duke basketball freshman Paolo Banchero (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

A potential Duke basketball recruiting prize is set to bid farewell to a handful of his pursuers, which calls for a look at who all may remain in the race.

On Friday, O’Dea (Wash.) junior power forward Paolo Banchero made his Twitter followers aware of a “coming soon” top six. Naturally, a couple of questions immediately arise. Will his Duke basketball suitors survive the cut? If so, who will remain as competitors? Hmm, prediction time:

Other than struggling to leave off Arizona and Washington — the Wildcats are the latest to the battle, and both his parents were Huskies — forecasting the finalists for the 6-foot-9, 235-pound five-star feels like a straightforward task. Why? Well, the chatter surrounding a possible college pairing of Banchero and his buddy, Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler, continues to ring loud. And exactly six of Banchero’s current 11 favorites appear on Chandler’s list of 10.

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So the six that Banchero shares in common with Chandler are the predicted six here: Duke, Kentucky, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee. This calendar year, those six also stand out as consistently active — via virtual calls and the likes — in their pursuits of the No. 4 prospect on the 247Sports 2021 Composite. Therefore, the projected programs to get the ax are Arizona, Baylor, Georgetown, Gonzaga, and Washington.

Banchero, who attended October’s Countdown to Craziness while on an official visit in Durham, did not announce a timeline for making a final decision. However, he did assert that he would not trim his list down any further than six before that time comes.

The 17-year-old Seattle native has a bruiser frame and a punishing game extending to the perimeter. Smooth handles. Crisp footwork. Easy-looking jumper. Emphatic slams. Crafty passing. A keen eye for blocks. Competitive demeanor. Loads of athleticism. Those are just some of the shiny features that make Banchero a hot commodity:

Mike Krzyzewski and his staff have already lured one 2021 commit in Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) five-star small forward AJ Griffin. Outside of Banchero and Chandler, five more five-star juniors hold Duke offers: Paul VI Catholic (Va.) shooting guard Trevor Keels, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) shooting guard Max Christie, The Patrick School (N.J.) small forward Jonathan Kuminga, Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., and Andrews Osborne (Ohio) center Charles Bediako.

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