Duke, Kentucky and UNC are recruiting Paolo Banchero, but family ties to Washington make his choice tough

CBS Sports

When the early session was completed on Sunday, the 70-plus players attending USA Basketball's Junior National Team Minicamp were dismissed for the afternoon — at which point most of them drifted away from the courts here inside the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, sat down, grabbed their phones and started to look like any other teenager in this country.

Not Paolo Banchero, though.

Instead, the 16-year-old forward went and found Aaron Gray, the former Pitt All-American, in an attempt to get a little more work in. Never mind that Banchero had already been going, like all other campers, twice a day for a week. Never mind that he was scheduled to be back in the gym in five hours. There was a big and strong NBA veteran serving as a USA Basketball instructor right over there. So why not pull him under the basket, ask questions, pick his brain and just do anything possible to take advantage of the opportunity?

"He's a coach's dream," Gray told CBS Sports. "His willingness to want to improve, when he's already at such a high-level, is impressive to a guy like me. He's got a cool and calm demeanor. But when he brings out that aggressive side, that mean side, man, the sky's the limit. His skillset is great. He's a great worker. So there really isn't anything negative I can say about him."

Unless you follow recruiting closely, or live in Seattle, there's a decent chance you're unfamiliar with Paolo Banchero because, I mean, how many basketball players are nationally known before they even enter their junior years of high school — outside of Bronny James, of course? But, soon enough, Banchero, a consensus top-five prospect in the Class of 2021, should be a household name for even casual fans because he's a projected lottery pick who is now a priority for the sport's biggest and best programs.

#basketball, #college

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