Status: UK target
Power forward | 6-9 | 235
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Kentucky made Banchero one of its biggest class of 2021 priorities with an early scholarship offer shortly after his sophomore season, and John Calipari drove that point home with a long-distance visit to see the Seattle standout early in the fall recruiting period.
The interest is very much mutual. Banchero is already seen in recruiting circles as a possible Kentucky lean, despite an early scholarship offer from Duke and his family’s close ties to the hometown school, Washington, where his parents were both athletes.
UK hosted Banchero for Big Blue Madness in October, and he goes into his junior season as a serious candidate to eventually rise to the No. 1 spot in the 2021 class. There has been ongoing talk that Banchero might reclassify to 2020 and play college basketball next season, but he just turned 17 years old in November, and the general thinking among recruiting experts is that he will stay in the 2021 class.
Banchero is one of the top power forward prospects in all of high school basketball, regardless of class, and has the reputation as a solid, hard-working scorer and rebounder who should play well with other talented frontcourt players. Despite being a year younger than much of the top competition, Banchero earned MVP honors at the annual NBPA Top 100 Camp this past summer.
He also led the Nike league in rebounding despite being a class younger than most of his peers, and he was one of only two players on that circuit to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the regular season.
Banchero averaged 22.7 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game on the Nike circuit during the spring and summer, and he blocked 31 shots over 13 games during that league’s regular season. He was also the most valuable player of the prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp in June.
“He’s a tough, physical power forward that impacts the game with his rebounding, with his competitiveness, with his physicality, and his ability to score. He can score facing the rim. He can score with his back to it. He’s got good hands, nice touch. He’s developing post moves. He can make catch-and-shoot jump shots. Truth is, he’s one of the more consistent players in the country. He always plays with energy. He always competes. He always rebounds. And that’s something that translates to every level. You just know what you’re getting from him when he gets on the court.”
-Recruiting analyst Evan Daniels