Duke’s Paolo Banchero declares for NBA Draft
With the Blue Devils’ star projected to go as the No. 1 pick in the draft, the question now becomes how will he cope with the big jump?
Though his last game for Duke ended in defeat to historic rivals North Carolina, Duke’s star is likely to show the NBA something special now that he’s one step closer to being there.
Paolo Banchero declares for NBA Draft
According to reports on Wednesday, Duke forward Paolo Banchero announced that he will be declaring for the NBA Draft after what can only be considered a stellar freshman season with the Blue Devils. Indeed, Banchero was named Freshman of the Year on his way to helping Duke reach the Final Four in what was ultimately legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski’s last season. Though some may question whether it’s too soon, the reality is most imagined the Seattle native wouldn’t be long for the college arena with his obvious skill set easily visible.
Speaking on the player, ‘Coach K’ himself was adamant that the Seattle native has exactly what it takes to excel at the highest level saying that he is “absolutely ready to attack the next phase” of his career. Krzyzewski added “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. I loved having him and his family in our program and wish him all the best as his professional career begins.”
Paolo Banchero by the numbers
Being frank, it’s quite likely that the former five-star prospect will be in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, even more so when considering the kind of performances that he turned in during Duke’s impressive run to the Final Four. Banchero averaged 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting a noteworthy 52.6% from 3-point range in five games during the Big Dance. During the season itself there wasn’t much of difference as he averaged 17.2 points to go along with 7.8 rebounds per game. As for his versatility, the 6-foot-10 power forward showed his class with a 33.8% average beyond the arc and 3.2 assists per game. Needless to say there were countless awards, but perhaps the most notable was his ACC Rookie of the Year award.
What’s the NBA Draft projection for Paolo Banchero?
While projected to go to the Orlando Magic at No.2 overall in one of the latest mock drafts, Banchero will most definitely be in contention for the No.1 overall pick. As mentioned before his versatility along with his formidable 6-foot-10 frame will make him a shoe in for success in the NBA. Indeed, in the aforementioned mock draft Bancherio is described as “...Someone who appears capable of producing right away as a versatile scorer and rebounder, a rarity for someone as tall as he is and part of what makes him such an alluring talent. He’s plenty polished enough to be a scorer early in his career and has a nice, safe floor, though questions about his defense and outside shot may knock him down a rung in the race for this year’s No. 1 pick.”
The commercial appeal of Paolo Banchero
Interestingly, Banchero is one of the first college athletes to benefit from the NCAA’s implementation of new rules, allowing athletes to earn profits from the use of their name, image and likeness. Where Banchero himself was concerned, he worked with Creative Artists Agency and through them secured deals that included becoming the first player featured in the latest NBA 2K video game in addition to a basketball trading card from Panini. Incidentally, he is the second Duke player in as many days to announce that he will be on his way to the NBA after Mark Williams announced that he will be doing the same.
Where is Duke now?
It should be said that Banchero’s jump to the NBA was widely expected. Having generated significant fervor at high school level, his time with the Blue Devils was always going to be short. While that scenario will not be foreign to a university that has produced some of the greatest talents in the game’s history, this year is somewhat different with the retirement of Coach K - the man who helped produce many of those previously mentioned talents. With new head coach Jon Scheyer coming in and a collection of Duke players heading out, it would seem that the Blue Devils are in for a transitional period when the 2022/23 season arrives. On the other hand with prospects like Dereck Lively II, Kyle Filipowski and Dariq Whitehead on the way, the future is bright.