September 29, 2022


Sports Really Satisfies

Paolo Banchero poised to become Seattle’s 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 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.