The Tennessee Volunteers beat out Kentucky for top 2021 point guard Kennedy Chandler. Will the Vols do it again with Paolo Banchero?
Chandler and Banchero have discussed teaming up in college, and Tennessee has been viewed as the school likeliest to make that happen for several months now. That’s because Chandler was viewed as a strong Vols lean for a while, but would Banchero actually follow him to Knoxville?
247 Sports director of basketball scouting Jerry Meyer thinks so, as he just logged a prediction in favor of Tennessee. It’s the first Tennessee prediction at 247 or Rivals, and Meyer is one of the best in the game.
Banchero, a 6-9 Seattle (WA) product, is currently ranked third nationally and first among power forwards in the 2021 class by 247 Sports Composite, which measures all of the major recruiting rankings. His finalists include Tennessee, Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, Washington and Gonzaga.
To this point, Kentucky had been viewed as the slight favorite for Banchero, but he’s kept his recruitment pretty close to the vest. The plan has been for him to announce a decision sometime next spring, but he’s also been hoping to visit schools between now and then, something that looks unlikely as the coronavirus continues to prevent in-person recruiting and likely will continue to do so into the early parts of 2021.
Tennessee has been recruiting at an elite level over the past two cycles, going toe-to-toe with the likes of Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas for several big-time recruits. But beating Kentucky and Duke for a top-five recruit like Banchero would easily be the biggest recruiting win Rick Barnes has had during his tenure in Knoxville.
While it remains to be seen who will actually land Banchero’s services, it’s clear now that Tennessee is a serious threat to pry him away from the blue-bloods.