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Duke star forward Paolo Banchero announced Wednesday that he is declaring for the NBA Draft after a standout freshman season with the Blue Devils. Banchero earned Freshman of the Year and Second-Team All-American honors from CBS Sports while helping the Blue Devils reach the final Four in coach Mike Krzyzewski's last season.

The former five-star prospect should be in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, especially after playing some of his best basketball during Duke's NCAA Tournament run. Banchero averaged 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting an eye-catching 52.6% from 3-point range in five games during the Big Dance.

Banchero averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the season while showing his versatility on both ends of the floor. The 6-foot-10 power forward hit 33.8% of his 3-point shots and proved to be an above-average passer while dishing out 3.2 assists per game. In addition to his numerous national awards, Banchero was also named ACC Rookie of the Year and a First-Team All-ACC performer.

Paolo Banchero's NBA Draft projection

Banchero is considered a lock to be a lottery pick and will contend to be the No. 1 overall selection. He is projected to go No. 2 overall to the Orlando Magic in Kyle Boone's latest mock draft and is ranked No. 3 on Boone's big board. At 6-foot-10, Banchero is athletic but also solidly built and tremendously versatile on both ends, which makes him a safe bet to be a solid NBA role player at worst.

"Banchero is someone who appears capable of producing right away as a versatile scorer and rebounder, a rarity for someone as tall as he is and part of what makes him such an alluring talent," Boone wrote. "He's plenty polished enough to be a scorer early in his career and has a nice, safe floor, though questions about his defense and outside shot may knock him down a rung in the race for this year's No. 1 pick."

Impact on Duke

Banchero's departure was always expected at Duke. He was the quintessential one-and-done prospect who more than delivered on the substantial hype that he generated as a high school prospect. But as Coach K retires and the program transitions to new coach Jon Scheyer, there is little question that a year of transition is in store for the Blue Devils. 

Banchero will be among a handful of Duke players who test the draft waters, which means the Blue Devils could have several new starters playing for a new coach in the 2022-23 season. However, Duke has the nation's No. 1 signing class locked in. The group is highlighted by three of the top five players in the class in Dereck Lively II, Kyle Filipowski and Dariq Whitehead.