NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Paolo Banchero had one of the biggest year-over-year scoring average hikes this season in the Nike EYBL with Seattle Rotary, jumping from 13 points to 22 points a game.
That’s an impressive stat to most people; Banchero is not one of them.
“I’m pretty confident in my abilities because I work hard,” Banchero said. “I wasn’t the focal point of the offense last year because we had Jaden (McDaniel); now I’m in that role. I know what I can do, and my whole mentality is different.”
Banchero capitalized off of the opportunity this season, adding 11 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game which subsequently led to him being named Nike EYBL Underclassmen of the Year.
He showed the full-array of his repertoire in a 78-69 win over the PSA Cardinals (New York) on Friday, posting 16 points, 17 rebounds and four assists.
“It’s an honor, but it just makes me want to work harder,” said Paolo, ranked No. 5 in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25. “Makes me want this Peach Jam title more. It’s even more fun having the coaches here.”
Since the final session of the regular season in May, the 6-foot-10 forward said he’s had conversations with Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Gonzaga, Washington, Baylor, Memphis, Louisville, UCLA and Arizona, among many others.
Despite each school being present at his games this week, the motivation for Banchero is rooted in the fact that “not all of them have offered.”
“I want to change that,” Banchero said. “I want all of the offers that I can get because I want to be able to choose from whoever I want. It’s perfect for me because it just means I have to get out there and work harder.”
Still, Banchero said he’s “not in any hurry” to make a commitment or even a cut to his massive list. He plans on taking all five of his allotted visits “both years” starting this fall, though he hasn’t begun to think about which campuses he’ll grace with his presence.
“It’s really early for me, but I may look at cutting things down by November or I may wait until February,” Banchero said. “I do know that my ideal situation is to have a decision made by the fall of my senior year, so I’ve got a long way to go. The first step is getting this Peach Jam title; that’s all I’m focused on now.”
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