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Gonzaga Basketball

Seattle’s Paolo Banchero, top-5 prospect in 2021 class, lists Gonzaga among final nine

O’Dea’s Paolo Banchero (41) draws a crowd of defenders against Seattle Prep in a Feb., 2018, game. (Courtney Pedroza / Seattle Times)

Paolo Banchero, considered one of the top prospects in the 2021 class, has Gonzaga among his top nine schools.

That’s not considered a surprise since the 6-foot-9, 235-pound standout at Seattle’s O’Dea High had an unofficial visit to Gonzaga last weekend and has an official visit scheduled for Jan. 18-19.

Banchero on Friday tweeted his final nine programs: GU, Kentucky, Duke, Tennessee, North Carolina, Memphis, Washington, Baylor and Georgetown.

Banchero is ranked No. 3 by ESPN and No. 4 by 247sports. He led O’Dea to the 3A State title last year. He’s scheduled to be on campus when the Zags entertain BYU on Jan. 18.

Washington is considered the frontrunner for Banchero, according to 247sports. Banchero’s dad, Mario, played football at UW, and his mom, Rhonda, scored nearly 3,000 points for the women’s basketball team and was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 2004.’s latest projection gives Kentucky the edge.

The Zags have hit the recruiting trail hard of late, visiting 2020 point guard Jalen Suggs and 2020 forward Walker Kessler earlier this week. Suggs, a two-sport standout from Minneapolis, is ranked No. 9 by 247sports. The 6-10 Kessler, a Georgia native, is No. 14.

Suggs, Kessler and 2020 commits Dominick Harris and Julian Strawther are expected to visit GU during Kraziness in the Kennel on Oct. 5. Harris, a 6-4 combo guard, is rated No. 59. The 6-7 Strawther is No. 62.

Suggs and Strawther visited Gonzaga last February and watched the Zags thump Saint Mary’s 94-46.

Gonzaga continues to show interest in Chet Holmgren, a 7-foot center and Suggs’ teammate at Minnehaha Academy. Holmgren is No. 5 in the 2021 class, one spot below Banchero. The Zags have a 2021 commitment from 6-8 forward Kaden Perry, of Battle Ground (Wash.) High.