Duke basketball: Paolo Banchero makes easy decision on future

An easy decision on his future has been made by Duke basketball star Paolo Banchero. 

Typically, there are a few easy offseason decisions to be made surrounding the Duke basketball program, and the easiest decision was made on Tuesday afternoon.

Star freshman forward Paolo Banchero announced his intentions to enter the 2022 NBA Draft via social media.

Banchero is projected as a Top-3 pick in June’s draft after an outstanding season in Durham, in which he averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game as the ACC Freshman of the Year.

The Seattle, Washington native was also named to the All-ACC First Team, ACC All-Freshman Team, and a consensus Second Team All-American.

“Paolo [Banchero] is a great leader in that regard and someone all of our players admired, even though he was just a freshman,” Mike Krzyzewski said in a press release.

“He is so dynamic, explosive and versatile – a model player in today’s NBA game. He did whatever we asked at a very high level.”

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Banchero really elevated his game in the postseason, shooting a combined 54.0-percent in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments.

“To Coach K, it was an honor to be a part of your final season. Thank you for pushing me every single day and expecting nothing but the best out of me,” the freshman said in his announcement video.

“It has always been a dream of mine to play at Duke, and it has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA.”

Paolo Banchero joins sophomore center Mark Williams as the two Blue Devils who have already declared for the 2022 NBA Draft. The deadline for underclassmen to announce their intentions is 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 24.

Duke basketball still waiting on more key decisions

There are still four players on the Duke roster who have yet to formally announce their future decisions: AJ Griffin, Trevor Keels, Wendell Moore, and Jeremy Roach.

Griffin is expected to declare for the NBA Draft as a projected Top-10 pick while it is also the expectation for Moore, the junior captain of the Blue Devils, to leave school early for the professional ranks.

ALSO READ: Duke loses first player of offseason to NBA

Jeremy Roach and Trevor Keels, the former Paul VI teammates, are currently projected to return to Duke for another season although the situation, specifically regarding Keels, remains fluid.

Head coach Jon Scheyer already secured the return of Joey Baker for a fifth season and sports the No. 1 incoming recruiting class for his first season at the helm of the program.