Duke basketball: Projected starters without AJ Griffin

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
5 of 6

Projected Duke basketball starter against Kentucky: Paolo Banchero

No matter what happens, unless Paolo Banchero himself suffers an injury, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound power forward is as close to a sure-thing starter as any freshman in program history. Yet as noted earlier here, the Seattle native could see a significant amount of time at small forward.

Or Banchero, a former five-star prep who ranked No. 2 overall on the final 247Sports 2021 Composite, could even be a point forward of sorts at times.

Plus, given the bruiser’s listed measurements in addition to his impressive post-up highlights from high school and Duke basketball intrasquad scrimmages to date, one would think Banchero will often serve as the five-man in various lineups.

With regards to the above possible plans, Mike Krzyzewski essentially confirmed as much recently when speaking to the media:

“His versatility is tremendous. And we’ve had a lot of success in the past — the past three decades or more — of using a very versatile big in different parts of the court. He can do that. He’s smart and easy to play with. He still has things to do before he meets up to what I want him to do, but he’s really progressing well…a great kid to coach.”

A potential All-American one-and-done.