Duke basketball signee shows flashes of Blue Devil legend

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

A future Duke basketball big man continues to resemble a former Blue Devil.

This week is not the first time that 2021 five-star Paolo Banchero has sparked memories of 2001 Duke basketball national champ Carlos Boozer.

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No, the noted parallels — mostly centering on their fluid footwork, smooth stroke, brawny build, and confident composure — even predate the power forward’s pledge to the Blue Devils in August. In fact, last season, the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Banchero mentioned in his SI blog that the 6-foot-9, 255-pound Boozer had attended some of his high school games.

Now, thanks to the Banchero-Boozer mixtape that Ballers Bridge tweeted on Thursday (below), the similarities are in plain sight and difficult to dispute:


Of course, distinct differences exist as well. Banchero, who hails from Seattle, appears to hold an edge in terms of bounce, handles, and outside shooting. And Boozer, who arrived in Durham 22 years ago from Juneau, Alaska, seemed a bit stronger with a slightly slicker spin as a teen.

Besides, in fairness to the 18-year-old Banchero, most of these “Boozer moves” that he’s seen mirroring are from the peak of the two-time All-Star’s 13-year NBA career.

Evidently, though, Banchero knows Duke basketball history and appreciates the comparison, for he quoted the above tweet with the following remark: “a real duke legend 🙏🏽.”

Another promising performance from the potential Duke basketball legend

Paolo Banchero, who ranks No. 3 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite, earned recognition this week as one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Player of the Year Trophy. Fellow 2021 Duke basketball signee AJ Griffin, a five-star small forward who ranks No. 7 and whose Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) squad won’t play at all this season, did not make the list.

In helping his BFL Prep (Wash.) team notch an 85-66 victory over Our Saviour Lutheran (N.Y.) at The Grind Session Bubble in Phoenix on Wednesday, Banchero scored a game-high 34 points to go along with nine rebounds and two blocks. He did so via a slew of Boozer-esque specialties in addition to a few splashes from downtown:

Adding in his 28 points from Tuesday’s 78-65 win against powerhouse Prolific Prep (Calif.), Banchero has dropped 62 points across two appearances at the event.

Meanwhile, Duke’s remaining 2021 wishlist consists of three more five-stars: Hamilton (Wis.) small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., Paul VI (Va.) shooting guard Trevor Keels, and IMG (Fla.) center Charles Bediako.

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