During the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA last week, 116 of the nation’s best high school basketball prospects competed in front of countless college coaches and NBA scouts.
One of the players who proved to not only be be among the best of the best every time he stepped on the floor? 2021 five-star forward Paolo Banchero.
Teamed up with two top-five prospects in the class of 2020, five-star forwards Makur Maker and Jalen Johnson, Banchero somehow managed to separate himself from his elite peers throughout the week. Averaging 17.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists against some of the top competition in the nation, the 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward even managed to take home MVP honors when awards were announced on Saturday afternoon.
Just three days later, the Kentucky coaching staff decided Banchero’s ridiculous performance at camp was enough to earn a scholarship, making him just the third player in the class of 2021 to receive an offer from UK.
— Paolo (Paul-Oh) (@Pp_doesit) June 19, 2019
At the NBPA Top 100 Camp, the five-star forward was asked about his recruitment, where he rattled off Oregon State and Gonzaga as schools he had already visited, along with Memphis and Arizona as places he’d like to visit in the very near future.
When asked about Kentucky’s contact, Banchero said that while they had been in regular communication with those in his inner circle, he was looking forward to talking to John Calipari and the other assistants once college coaches were legally allowed to start communicating with rising juniors starting on Saturday morning,
“I haven’t been in contact with them, but they’ve talked to my trainers and coaches, asking about me,” he said. “But I’m sure I’ll get in contact with them [personally] soon.”
As for his interest in Kentucky, the 6-foot-10 prospect said the proof is in the pudding with their program and he’d definitely consider them if an offer came and interest ramped up.
“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.”
Banchero, a Seattle, WA native, has been rumored to want to stay on the West coast at the college level. When asked about that speculation, the five-star forward shot it down, saying he’d be willing to play anywhere in the country if it was the right fit.
“No, not at all. I’m willing to go wherever,” Banchero said. “Not saying I won’t stay on the West coast. But if I was trying to go to an East coast school or down South, distance wouldn’t really affect me too much.”
So what is he looking for in a school? The top-10 prospect in the class of 2021 said he wants to connect well with the coaching staff and fit in with their style of play.
Luckily for some of the top programs in the country, he said he’s flexible on both accounts.
“I think one of my qualities is I can kind of fit under any type of playing style, any type of coaching,” he said. “My AAU coach is kind of laid back, but my high school coach is more of an in-your-face type of coach. And I like both of those, I fit well with both of styles. So I don’t really pay attention to any of that [specifically], I think I’m good playing in any system.”
Now adding Kentucky to the list, Banchero already holds offers from Kansas, Arizona, Gonzaga, Washington, Memphis, and Oklahoma, among others.
Watch some of his most recent highlights from Nike EYBL Session 3 below:
KSR will be in North Augusta, SC for Peach Jam from July 10-14 to ask Banchero about his new offer from the Wildcats and his soaring stock.