Future Duke basketball star commands SportsCenter attention

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

A member of Duke basketball’s next class could soon become an ESPN fixture.

As five-star power forward Paolo Banchero continues to state his authority on the court, national eyes are beginning to pay attention to the loaded toolbox of the 2021 Duke basketball signee.

That now includes the official Twitter account of SportsCenter.

On Friday afternoon in Phoenix, the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder, who ranks No. 3 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite but is clearly making a strong case for the top spot as of late, made sure that his No. 2 seed BFL Prep (Wash.) advanced to Saturday’s 10 p.m. ET title bout at The Grind Session’s 16-team World Championship.

He did so by tallying 38 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks during the squad’s 76-64 win over No. 3 seed Prolific Prep (Calif.). Those totals followed Banchero’s combined 70 points, 24 boards, five assists, and seven blocks between the Seattle native’s previous two outings in the tournament.

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Shortly after Banchero’s latest performance, setting up Saturday night’s showdown against No. 1 Arizona Compass, SportsCenter tweeted a clip of the 18-year-old’s slick juke move that left his defender on his rear end and led to three points on the scoreboard:

In compiling Banchero’s highlight package from the victory, Courtside Films proposed that his sick ankle breaker might have been the greatest one of the year across all high school ranks:

Hours later in a different state, more from the future Duke basketball gem

Amazingly, immediately following the game in Phoenix, Paolo Banchero boarded a plane to Utah in order to help his Seattle Rotary AAU club in a Friday evening battle. Though the group did not manage to get the win, its centerpiece did not actually arrive until well after the game began.

And the quick trip was not a total waste. No, it resulted in at least one rim-rocking play from Banchero:

Plus, while Banchero was in action for the second time in one day, the bruiser’s passion drew the following praise from the Twitter account of 247Sports recruiting expert Eric Bossi:

“Tell you what, there’s always something to be said for guys who truly love the game. Paolo Banchero has nothing to prove. He’s been killing it…Had a game today. Has a game tomorrow, but still playing hard in Utah tonight despite arriving late.”

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Yes, it’s a love for the game that the Blue Devils are sure to enjoy in what will likely be Paolo Banchero’s one-and-done Duke basketball campaign.