Duke gets commitment from center Paolo Banchero

Friday, August 21, 2020

Duke's upcoming recruiting class got a significant boost Thursday when Paolo Banchero, ESPN's No. 3-ranked prospect in 2021, committed to the Blue Devils.

Banchero, the 6-foot-8 center, had been heavily pursued by both Tennessee and Kentucky. He's the second top-10 recruit for Duke, which also has received a commitment from A.J. Griffin, ESPN's No. 9 recruit in the 2021 class.

The Blue Devils are the only program with two top-10 commitments for that class.

Although his father, Mario, played college football at Washington, his mother, Rhonda, is regarded as one of the greatest women's basketball players in Huskies history. She graduated as their all-time scoring leader with 2,948 points before playing professionally. Rhonda Smith-Banchero was nominated to the school's Hall of Fame in 2004.

"When I was younger, I hated it," Banchero told the Seattle Times last year about his mother's basketball success and knowledge. "At that age, I thought I knew everything. Now, I understand she knows the game as well as I do, and her advice could help a lot. She's played at all three levels. She knows high school, she knows college -- going to class, doing workouts and traveling. And she knows pros -- handling money and continuing to travel, being away from home. She's a great advice-giver and has a lot of insight to what I want to do. She's been where I want to be."