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Paolo Banchero Poised to Become Seattle’s Favorite Son – Sports Illustrated

SEATTLE – For Jason Kerr, the screensaver on his desktop monitor is one of few reminders from the magical state championship season in 2019. Those are his O’Dea basketball players smiling in the photo. That’s a future NBA lottery pick, the one he coached and mentored, in the bottom left corner of the frame.

The kid looks the same in the image as he does this spring on television, right down to the No. 5 stitched onto his jersey and the impenetrable gaze of quiet confidence. He’s smaller and younger in the photo, and yet, it’s unmistakably him, too. That’s Paolo Napoleon James Banchero, the Duke forward, same tall-and-lithe frame, same flexed biceps, same curly black hair. He’s 16 years old in the photo and 19 now. And his push for another championship continues Saturday, when Duke clashes with North Carolina in the Final Four. The symmetry is not surprising; it’s all part of the same plan, a life pointed long ago toward stardom, magical seasons and games the sports world stops to watch. Only the stage and stakes are different now.

As this NCAA tournament continued and Banchero willed Mike Krzyzewski’s final season toward a fairy tale ending, his last coach before Krzyzewski marveled at the duality involved. So much had changed … and nothing really had. Kerr didn’t want to burden Banchero with much advice, but he did pass along something he learned in that 2019 season. When O’Dea triumphed, Kerr spun in every direction, bouncing from interviews to handshake lines, doing everything except what he now wishes he had done first. “I missed the whole celebration,” he says. Hence the picture on his desktop monitor, along with the text message he sent Banchero last week.

Enjoy the heck out of it, Kerr wrote.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

On Tuesday morning, Kerr sits behind a wide desk inside his office. He’s surrounded by Seattle hoops history and concrete walls. Like everyone else at O’Dea, a Catholic high school with roughly 500 students located near downtown in the neighborhood known as First Hill, he’s experiencing a little Banchero-related déjà-vu.

He turns on some film from Banchero’s junior season and sits up straighter, memories returning, along with did-he-really-do-that exclamations. The stands are packed, signaling that this game took place before the global pandemic. O’Dea is playing Garfield, another local power in a sneaky national hoops hotbed, once home to future NBA players Brandon Roy, Will Conroy, Tony Wroten and Jaylen Nowell. There’s Banchero, set up out on the wing, calling for the ball. He drives and scores, grabs a steal and knocks down a three-point attempt—five points in a handful of seconds, along with a quick flex. “He’s kinda shy,” Kerr says. “But he had that personality. You see it mostly when he’s around his friends.”

Kerr still remembers when Banchero arrived at O’Dea. His background—both parents played Division I sports in college—hinted at immense promise that started with good genes. The Bancheros met at …….

Source: https://www.si.com/college/2022/03/31/paolo-banchero-seattle-favorite-son

SEATTLE – For Jason Kerr, the screensaver on his desktop monitor is one of few reminders from the magical state championship season in 2019. Those are his O’Dea basketball players smiling in the photo. That’s a future NBA lottery pick, the one he coached and mentored, in the bottom left corner of the frame.

The kid looks the same in the image as he does this spring on television, right down to the No. 5 stitched onto his jersey and the impenetrable gaze of quiet confidence. He’s smaller and younger in the photo, and yet, it’s unmistakably him, too. That’s Paolo Napoleon James Banchero, the Duke forward, same tall-and-lithe frame, same flexed biceps, same curly black ha…….

SEATTLE – For Jason Kerr, the screensaver on his desktop monitor is one of few reminders from the magical state championship season in 2019. Those are his O’Dea basketball players smiling in the photo. That’s a future NBA lottery pick, the one he coached and mentored, in the bottom left corner of the frame.

The kid looks the same in the image as he does this spring on television, right down to the No. 5 stitched onto his jersey and the impenetrable gaze of quiet confidence. He’s smaller and younger in the photo, and yet, it’s unmistakably him, too. That’s Paolo Napoleon James Banchero, the Duke forward, same tall-and-lithe frame, same flexed biceps, same curly black ha…….

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