Duke basketball: Five-star recruit makes bold guarantee

Duke basketball (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) /

A Blue Devil-in-waiting has one promise regarding Duke basketball’s future.

Fair or not, in the aftermath of the discouraging loss at home to Michigan State on Tuesday night, an abundance of Duke basketball fans across social media and message boards are setting aside plenty of time to look ahead to the potentially epic 2021-22 roster in Durham.

Incidentally or not, during a chat (below) with The Front Office this week, O’Dea (Wash.) senior Paolo Banchero further enticed his future fanbase to dream of next year. Describing what Dukies should count on witnessing, the 6-foot-9, 235-pound power forward enunciated every W as he spoke:

“I’m bringing winning for sure. I win pretty much every level I play on. So I know going there with a bunch of other great players, we’re gonna win. So that’s what they can expect: some wins…a lot of wins, a lot of energy. It’s gonna be a show.”

Next, by setting his sights on the Duke basketball history books, the powerful, versatile, smooth Banchero — who said he had “elite-level speed” as a state champion quarterback before his growth spurt early on in his prep career — implied that he won’t shy away from headlining the show:

“I mean, they’ve had great players there, and I am looking forward to being the next great one.”

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Paolo Banchero updates pursuit of another potential Duke basketball great

Duke’s class currently consists of two early signees in Banchero (No. 2 overall on the recently updated 247Sports 2021 Composite) and small forward AJ Griffin (No. 6). Plus, Mike Krzyzewski and his staff still have offers on the table to three undecided seniors: small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. (No. 3), shooting guard Trevor Keels (No. 17), and center Charles Bediako (No. 24).

Addressing Duke’s highest-profile chase at the moment, Banchero explained to The Front Office that he’s still doing his best to sell Baldwin Jr. on joining him as a Blue Devil. However, Banchero also suggested that he and Baldwin Jr., whose 247Sports Crystal Ball continues to 100 percent favor Duke, haven’t been able to connect too often as of late:

“Pat, he’s hard to reach. But that’s my guy. He was my roommate [while playing for USA Basketball], so we’re familiar with each other. He knows my game. I know his. Like me and AJ, we’re both unselfish players who share the ball and play well off each other.”

Banchero continued:

“[Pat and I] were on the same team too, so we’ve already played together. And we play well together. So we can do it at Duke, not three days but for five months or however long that season is.”

With or without Baldwin Jr., just the Banchero show alone should serve as a sweet way to potentially welcome back Cameron Crazies to the stands next season — before the grown-man baller surely heads to the big show.

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