Ranking Duke basketball’s chances with five remaining 2021 targets

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball recruiting target Paolo Banchero (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Analyzing Duke basketball recruiting races: Paolo Banchero

Sticking with the theme of recruits who have expressed no rush in wrapping up their recruitments, let’s look at O’Dea (Wash.) power forward Paolo Banchero. Granted, it’s possible the 6-foot-9, 235-pound five-star could suddenly override his own stated plan to wait until spring to announce and instead suddenly commit to Tennessee in light of the news last week from his notable close friend, five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler.

As for where the Duke basketball recruiting team stands for the No. 3 overall prospect on the 247Sports 2021 Composite — a nimble bruiser with range to his game and definite All-American college potential — the Crystal Ball does not have the Blue Devils in what it shows as a tie between Tennessee, Kentucky, and Washington. That said, along with those three schools plus Arizona and Gonzaga, Duke is at least in the top six that Banchero named in late April.

Moreover, it is at least safe to say Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants have devoted more time to the pursuit of Banchero than all but one other recruit on this list (the one coming up in a slide or two). As a Seattle product and son of two former Huskies — hence the ever-present Washington talk — it’s also at least promising that the guys in Durham have managed to host the 17-year-old for an official visit and then stay in contention the past 10 months from almost 3,000 miles away.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the entire Duke staff met with Banchero via a Zoom call not even three weeks ago. In other words, regardless of the Chandler news or what the Crystal Ball displays, it looks as if Coach K & Co. has every intention of coming out on top. Obviously, though, that’s a little easier said than done.

Chance of Duke basketball landing Paolo Banchero? 20 percent