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Paolo Banchero talks about a visit to Lexington and reaction to offer from UK

Banchero was starstruck when John Calipari offered him a scholarship to UK.

Jon Lopez / Jon Lopez Creative

John Calipari has offered three scholarships to basketball players in the 2021 class, and the latest to receive one is already planning a visit to Lexington.

Paolo Banchero is the No. 4 player in the class of 2021 according to the 247 Sports composite rankings. He is a 6-9, 235 pound forward that can score on the block but also shoot from the outside and make plays off the dribble.

Banchero had an outstanding sophomore season in high school, and he really stood out at the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp last month, earning the Most Valuable Player award. Given the talent at that event, it makes his performance even more impressive.

As excited as Big Blue Nation should be about Banchero’s game, he seems almost as excited to have an offer from Coach Calipari.

“It was just surreal, hearing his voice, talking to him,” Banchero told KSR at Peach Jam. “Talking about how much he wants me, about he wants me to follow my dreams, help me achieve my dreams of getting to the NBA as a top-five pick, all that stuff. I’ve been talking to Coach Barbee a lot too, so it’s been really good.”

While it is still very early in his recruitment, it’s a great sign to see a player borderline giddy about getting a call from Calipari. Before he announced his offer from Kentucky last month, he talked about what that might mean to him while he was at the NBPA Top 100 camp.

“I mean, it’s Kentucky,” he said. “You know, they’ve been putting dudes in the league, getting to the tournament, getting to the Final Four, championship, all that, for 10 years now.”

I know fans are burned after several recruits have said Kentucky was their “dream school” only to go somewhere else. But the Kentucky coaching staff is starting their recruitment of Banchero very early, so hopefully that gives them a better chance at landing a commitment.

For what it’s worth, Banchero just picked up an offer from the Duke Blue Devils, so it’s safe to say UK will have to beat out the best of the best for this elite recruit.

Read everything Banchero had to say to KSR here.