The former Blue Devil is projected to be a top three overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. But who are Paolo Banchero’s parents, as we explore his ethnicity and nationality?
Paolo Banchero played college basketball player for Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
The 18-year-old was born in Seattle, Washington, and attended O’Dea High School. After being named to the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic rosters, Banchero emerged as a consensus five-star recruit and was one of the top players in the 2021 class.
Who are Paolo Banchero’s parents; meet mom Rhonda and dad Mario
Paolo Banchero’s parents are Mario Banchero (Father) and Rhonda Smith-Banchero (Mother).
Paolo is an American-Italian by nationality and is biracial. His father’s side is where Paolo’s Italian heritage comes from.
Paolo comes from an athletic background, drawing inspiration from his mother who was also a college basketball player who played for the Washington Huskies Women’s basketball team.
She scored 2,948 points and grabbed 803 rebounds en route to becoming the first Washington player to enter the WNBA.
Rhonda was a third-round selection in the 2000 WNBA draft and played professionally in the American Basketball League and overseas. She then became a basketball coach at Holy Names Academy in Seattle.
His dad, Mario Banchero, was a tight end for the Husky football team along with Paolo’s uncle. Rhonda and Mario met while both were enrolled at the Pac-12 institution.
Paolo wants to play for the Italian national team
Paolo Banchero’s great-grandfather immigrated to the United States from Northern Italy to work in the coal mines of Black Diamond, Washington.
The NBA prospect became an Italian citizen in June 2020 and was selected to the country’s 24-man squad for the EuroBasket 2022 qualification games, but did not play.
Banchero told fiba.basketball: “I’m proud to wear the Azzurri jersey. I will never forget when I received it for the first time. I have it framed in my room. I’m proud to be playing for Italy and proud of the heritage of my family.”
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He never saw him mom play but was still inspired by her
Paolo Banchero never actually got to see his mother play basketball but he has still been greatly inspired by her.
“Seeing her do that [on tape], you don’t even realize that you’re looking like your mom,” Paolo told Andscape. “But I’ve had countless people come up to me and tell me how good she was. And she was really a beast.”
“My mom won a state championship as a coach, and I remember her cutting down the net,” he said. “I remember her swirling the net around and I always wanted to do that. I looked up there [in the stands] and told my mom to make sure she gets the video.”
The Duke star on Instagram
It’s a big night for Banchero who has a real chance of becoming the No.1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
You can follow Paolo’s journey on his Instagram, where he currently has over 117k followers.
Expect that to rise in the coming months he drafted with one of the top picks.
Where do you think Paolo will be drafted? Let us know in the comments below!