Paolo Banchero is a consensus top five player and the top power forward in the 2021 class. Kentucky has been recruiting the Washington native for quite some time, and based on a recent blog post he did for Sports Illustrated the recruitment still has a long way to go.
Banchero says he is sticking with his top six schools, which is encouraging. Kentucky, Washington, Tennessee, Duke, Gonzaga, and Arizona are all still in the running for his services. The majority of his 247 Sports crystal ball projections have been for the Washington Huskies, but there has been some buzz for Kentucky as well.
In the blog post, Banchero talked about the difficulty of staying sharp during quarantine.
“Things have gotten better as far as being able to get back into the gym and get some work in,” Banchero wrote. “I’ve played with my high school teammates, AAU teammates, a couple college and pro guys that are back home now too. It feels good to be able to get up and down the court again. I think I’ve gotten better for sure; the only thing is the conditioning, but that comes from actual game speed, which we haven’t had.”
It is great that he has been able to get some work in, but it looks like Banchero is in no hurry to make a decision about college.
“I think with the pandemic slowing up my recruitment I’m more so thinking that I’ll probably wait longer than I probably would have,” he said. “There’s just so many things that I don’t know. “
That is certainly the case for all current recruits. Like Banchero mentions in his post, that will likely drive some players to commit early and others will choose to push back their decision timelines.
One timeline to watch is that of Kennedy Chandler. Banchero was pretty clear in his post that these two playing in college together is a distinct possibility. Kentucky is also hot on Chandler’s trail, but much of the early chatter has been for Duke.
“Me and my guy Kennedy Chandler have had talks about maybe teaming up in college,” Banchero wrote. “That’s my boy and it all depends on how we’re feeling in the end. We want the best for each other, so maybe that can be together. If it’s not, we’re gonna do what’s best for us individually.”
This is certainly a recruitment to watch closely moving forward. Banchero is the type of player that Kentucky has been able to get in recent years: a top five big man.
Read the rest of Banchero’s blog post, including what music he has been listening to, here.