Paolo Banchero Passes on UW, Countless Others to Play for Duke

Dan Raley

Paolo Banchero, one of the nation's most highly regarded basketball players, attends O'Dea High School, just four miles from the University of Washington, where his mother was a standout player.

Local basketball followers were hopeful he'd stay home for his college ball, that proximity and family connections might sway him. 

No chance.

On Thursday, the 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward chose Duke as his collegiate destination, casting his lot with one of the nation's powerhouse programs. He's the second Seattle-area player to ever go this route, following Mercer Island High School point guard Quin Snyder, now the coach for the Utah Jazz.  

Banchero was thought to be leaning to Kentucky all along and he barely let on that he was giving serious consideration to the Blue Devils. But Mike Krzyzewski's recruiting pitch apparently was way too persuasive to say no.  

Banchero, whose mother is former Husky great Rhonda Smith, comes off a junior season in which he averaged 22.6 points, 11 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He led O'Dea to a state runner-up finish, losing to the Brandon Roy-coached Garfield Bulldogs in the championship game.

Locals had hoped he might stay home and help elevate Mike Hopkins' ever-evolving Husky program, which is sorely in need of a talented big man. Freshmen forwards Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels stayed just one season before making themselves available to the NBA draft. But Hopkins will have to look elsewhere. 

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Comments (2)
No. 1-2

Probably won't be college basketball for quite a while. Probably D-League for Paul-Oh.

Dan Raley
Dan Raley


Paolo still has a senior high school season to play.