1. Duke basketball freshman power forward Paolo Banchero
Please have a look at the video above, showing Paolo Banchero drop 37 points during one recent game against grown men at The Crawsover Pro-Am in his hometown of Seattle. Pay attention to the vast array of post explosions, 3-bombs, and everything in between from the 6-foot-10, 250-pound all-around showstopper.
Or take a gander at the Duke basketball intrasquad scrimmage footage from July:
Any seasoned Dukie aficionado should see that Banchero has all the makings of a Naismith finalist and top-tier lottery pick.
Banchero finished No. 2 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite behind Gonzaga’s 7-foot freshman, Chet Holmgren. To the delight of the masses, though, Banchero and Holmgren ought to have a chance to battle it out for early “top freshman” status when the Blue Devils encounter the Bulldogs on Nov. 26 in Las Vegas.
If Banchero doesn’t come away with any of this year’s top-shelf individual hardware — in what is likely to be his one-and-done layover in Durham — then only two conceivable explanations come to mind:
- A significant injury
- A welcomed ding to his stats from the co-emergence of the following two guys on this list or others
Speaking of that…