Although he is only 18 years old, Duke forward Paolo Banchero has an impressive list of fans.
On Tuesday night, the freshman made his debut at Duke in the Blue Devils’ first game of the 2021-22 college basketball seasons. Banchero scored 22 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 2 steals against No.10 Kentucky in a 79-71 victory. At the moment, he is the No. He is currently the No. 2 prospect in ESPN’s Top 100 Recruits for 2022 NBA Draft.
Jeff Borzello of ESPN says that Banchero's unique ability to handle the ball, score around the basket, and hit face-up jumpers at the top key is what makes him so special. He is also a consistent absorber of contact, and he gets to the free throw line regularly.
LeBron James has been paying close attention to Banchero’s play and will be able to see him more often in big-time matchups. The Blue Devils will host No. 1 Gonzaga, and travel to face No. 17 Ohio State in November.
James shared a photo from the photoshoot Banchero did with SLAM Magazine on his Instagram Story. Banchero is seen tying his LeBron 11 sneakers in the photo. Even cooler is Banchero's enthusiasm over James' Instagram shoutout.
No way Bro put me on the story man, but you'll gotta let me fan for a second that my goat fr -- Paolo Banchero @Pp_doesit November 10, 2021
Isaiah Thomas, a former NBA All-Star, couldn't help but notice that Washington has star-caliber hoopers like him. Banchero was born in Seattle and attended high school there.
What will @Pp_doesit say about our state when they are the #1 pick in next year's draft? Lol we just keep producing!!! -- Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) November 10, 2021
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets' star, also gave Banchero props a few days after Banchero had tweeted about how "cold” Bridges is.
Paolo Banchero got game https://t.co/wKs0qUuOhs -- Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges) November 10, 2021
Banchero, a SLAM Magazine cover-wearing assistant coach at Duke Jon Scheyer surprised him less than 24 hours after he made his college debut.
The Banchero wagon is drawing a lot of people, and the freshman hopes that he can keep up with expectations when the Blue Devils begin a six-game homestand against Army.