NBA Stars Jayson Tatum and Doug Christie Hype Up Duke Blue Devils New Commit Paolo Banchero

Published 04/17/2021, 6:00 PM EDT
DURHAM, NC – MAY 31: Former Duke basketball player Jayson Tatum sits down for SiriusXM’s Town Hall With Hall Of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski at Bill Brill Media Room in Cameron Indoor Stadium on May 31, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images for SiriusXM)


The Duke Blue Devils had a forgetful 2020-21 season. For the first time since 1996, they missed out on qualifying for the NCAA tournament, ending a 24 year streak. But to prevent a debacle like that, they have had some exciting new recruits.

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Back in August 2020, they got a commitment from the No. 3-ranked prospect in 2021, Paolo Banchero. The American-Italian played for O’Dea High School and won the Washington Gatorade Player of the Year and MaxPreps National Junior of the Year as a junior. He is finally going to make his debut in the upcoming 2021-22 season and it has got NBA stars excited too.

After Ballislife posted a poster dunk by Banchero, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum simply wrote “Damn” after being amazed. Tatum, a Duke alumni, will be hyped for his alma mater to get such an exciting prospect. Former Kings guard Doug Christie labeled Banchero “a damn PROBLEM” 

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In the clip, the 6’10 Banchero humiliates his opponent with a phenomenal poster. He might only be 18, but that was what many would call a grown man slam. And so it wasn’t a surprise to see comments about how he already looks ready for the NBA.

Can Paolo Banchero help the Duke Blue Devils to improve next season?

In the 2020-21 season, the Blue Devils finished with a 9-9 record. That placed them in the 10th spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is the first time they finished out of the top 5 since 2006-07. On top of that, they also pulled out of the ACC tournament, which meant there was no success at all for them.

The arrival of Banchero is a positive sign for the Blue Devils. The departure of Matthew Hurt creates a void for them in both scoring and rebounding departments. This is where Banchero can step in. He averaged 22.6 points and 11.0 rebounds per game last season, which makes him a great replacement. He also offers rim protection after averaging 1.6 blocks per game in his junior year.

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Banchero’s explosiveness also makes him a box office player. Fans will be excited to see him don the classic Duke uniforms at the Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Fans will hope that he will stay committed to the cause and not backout midway like Jalen Johnson. There are a lot of hopes riding on the American-Italian, and coach Mike Krzyzewski will be hoping to get the best out of him.

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Aaron Mathew

1525 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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