Rick Barnes has the men’s basketball program rolling when it comes to the interest of top recruits.
Paolo Banchero, a 5-star power forward in the 2021 class has officially scheduled a visit with the Vols in the fall of 2019. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior tweeted his official visit schedule on Tuesday afternoon and as expected, the Vols are contending with some of the most-heralded powerhouses in the country.
Official Visit Dates— Paolo (Paul-Oh) (@Pp_doesit) August 20, 2019
North Carolina : September 27-29
Kentucky⚪️ : October 11-13
Duke : October 17-20
Tennessee : October 25-27
Gonzaga ⬇️: January 18-19
Banchero is from Seattle, Washington. According to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Banchero is currently at No. 4 nationally, No. 1 at his position, and No. 1 in the state. He’s rated as the fifth-best player overall.
He’s also considering reclassification for the 2020 cycle. If the Vols were able to snag him after reclassification, it would likely make them frontrunners to finish with the top class of the 2020 cycle.
To no surprise, Barnes played a major role in Banchero’s future visit. Barnes’ ability to connect with his players — or potential future players, in Banchero’s case — helped piqued the youngster’s interest.
“We just talked about everyday stuff,” Banchero said in a blog for USA Today that chronicles his recruitment, “He asked me if I had a girlfriend. I told him yes, and then he said is she cute. Haha!”
“Of course, I said yes, and then he said he was sure she wouldn’t mind me coming to Knoxville, Tennessee. I thought it was cool that we talked about things like that other than basketball. That’s what I like most about getting to know these coaches.”
The visit with Tennessee also represents a small victory for the Big Orange. At one point, Banchero was choosing whether he wanted to visit UT or Memphis, the Vols’ cross-state rival.
“Memphis and Tennessee, I’m kind of deciding which one,” Banchero told HoopSeen back in July. “They’re both in the same state so I’m just trying to decide which one I want to go to.”
If Banchero decides to play for Tennessee, then it’s not hard to envision more victories in the future, except they’ll be on the basketball court instead of the recruiting trail.
You can check out some of Banchero’s highlights below: