During the summer of 2019, there were a lot of rumors that 2021 5-star power forward Paolo Banchero could be making the move to the 2020 class. However, he ultimately decided to remain in 2021 making him a big priority recruit.
The 6-9 forward from Seattle is currently ranked as the No. 3 overall player in the class and is the No. 2 power forward behind only Patrick Baldwin Jr who is expected to be a Duke lean.
Since Banchero burst onto the scene as a talented sophomore he has been a name that is talked about a lot. Many first believed that he would follow in his parent’s footsteps and go to Washington which is where both his mother and father played varsity sports.
However, that idea quickly changed once Banchero said he was going to search throughout the country looking for the best fit for him.
Rivals’ basketball analyst Corey Evans ranked the contenders in the recruitment of Banchero and all his options from taking his talents to Lexington, teaming up with Kennedy Chandler and going to Tennessee, or even staying home on the west coast.
The No. 1 contender according to Evans is Banchero ending up in Lexington playing for the Kentucky Wildcats.
“Banchero has already taken an official visit to the blueblood program as he joined the 2020 class’ top-rated prospect, Cade Cunningham, in Lexington last fall. Immediately after, there was a chance that Kentucky was on the precipice of landing both Banchero and Cunningham. By now we know that Cunningham went with Oklahoma State, but the Wildcats are definitely a strong suitor for Banchero. They just missed on (Jaden) McDaniels, but do have a decent connection with the Pacific Northwest, thanks to their past work with Terrence Jones and Kyle Wiltjer. There might not be a clear-cut leader, but if there was going to be one, it would be the Wildcats.”
The rest of the contenders to land Banchero in order according to Evans includes Duke, Tennessee, Washington, Gonzaga, and Arizona.
Banchero is still hoping to take five official visits in the fall before he makes his decision in November but all of that could be pushed back if on-campus recruiting is barred past the August 31st date due to the Coronavirus.
Until he gets to take visits and makes his decision, he will be the top target for each of the six contenders but hopefully in the end Banchero decides to sign with Kentucky.