After just one season at Duke, Paolo Banchero is taking his talents to the NBA.
The 19-year-old sensation made his declaration in a video posted to social media on Wednesday. “It has always been a dream of mine to play at Duke, and it has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA,” Banchero said. “Duke has prepared me for that on and off the court”
In his lone campaign at Durham, Banchero registered 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, en route to being a third-team All-America pick. He was one of the leaders for a Duke squad that managed to escort now-retired Hall-of-Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski to a record 13th Final Four appearance, not to mention the school’s first outright Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title since 2006.
“He is so dynamic, explosive, and versatile — a model player in today’s NBA game,” Coach K said in a statement. “He did whatever we asked at a very high level.”
Banchero will enter the Draft as one of the odds-on favorites to be selected No. 1 overall. He’s the second Duke player in the last few days making an early leap to the NBA, joining sophomore Mark Williams.