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UNC Recruiting: Roy Williams offers five-star forward Paolo Banchero

The Heels have given out their very first scholarship offer of the 2021 recruiting class.

Iona v North Carolina Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With the July evaluation period for college basketball recruiting in full swing, we knew there would be some scholarship offers that would be announced. Roy Williams spent the weekend attending the Peach Jam tournament in Atlanta, GA, the UAA Finals in Cartersville, GA, and the Adidas Championships in Hoover, AL. During his travels to watch players that he has already offered, or have already committed to the Tar Heels (Day’Ron Sharpe participated in the Adidas Championships), he found enough time to evaluate and offer his first target of the 2021 recruiting class.

Yesterday afternoon, Paolo Banchero announced via Twitter that he has received an offer from the University of North Carolina.

Banchero is a 6’8, 235 pound power forward from Seattle, WA, and currently plays for O’Dea High School. He is currently ranked as the fourth-best recruit in the 2021 recruiting class according to the 247 Sports Composite, and is the best power forward in the class as well. UNC now joins schools such as Kentucky, Duke, Gonzaga, Tennessee, and Memphis as contenders for the young big man, and now more than ever it should be interesting to see which school comes out on top (Thanks, Memphis for making sure things stay interesting).

In terms of scouting reports, 247 Sports recruiting expert Josh Gershon had the most interesting take on Banchero’s game so far. He compared Banchero to former Kentucky Wildcat PJ Washington, and further broke down what makes him such a strong recruit:

“He has respectable size for post with decent length with wide shoulders and a very good frame,” said Gershon. “Paolo is very strong for his age but has plenty of room to grow into frame. Shouldn’t have issues increasing strength. Best from high post where he can hit jumpers, take bigger defenders off dribble or use his outstanding vision to find cutters. Terrific rebounder. Uses his size and basketball IQ to protect rim. Should be able to play both the four and five at college level. Improving efficiency from perimeter would take game to next level and greatly impact his NBA upside. Projects as a high level performer at high major level. Has first-round upside with continued development.”

The one potential issue with the Heels offering Banchero is that he lives out on the west coast. In recent history, schools haven’t had the greatest luck recruiting players on the other side of the country, or if they do receive a commitment, typically the players end up transferring if they don’t finish their freshman year as a one-and-done. As fate would have it, Duke had a good amount of experience on both ends of the spectrum this decade, as Chase Jeter opted to play closer to home after his time in North Carolina, and then there’s Marvin Bagley, who was a OAD and went as a lottery pick in the NBA Draft. Banchero’s situation is likely one where either scenario is equally possible, so it will be a matter of waiting to see what he is willing to do.

As the week continues, we can expect more offers to be announced as Roy Williams continues his evaluation of some of the best players in the country. We should have plenty more news as things develop, so keep checking in with us at Tar Heel Blog for updates.