Paolo Bankero became the first Duke Basketball alum to be selected in the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday night when he was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic.
The 6-foot-10, 250-pound power forward was the Blue Devils’ first top-3 pick since the 2019 draft. In 2020, for the first time in six seasons, Duke did not pick a top three.
Banchero became the 29th lottery player to be coached by the head coach. Mike Krzyzewskia record for both the individual trainer and the program.
As one of the best players in the class of 2021, Banchero averaged 17.2 points on .478 shooting with 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 starts and has won numerous accolades, including a first-team All-Tournament ACC. , All-Team All-Tournament, ACC Freshman Team, NCAA Western Region Most Outstanding Player and All Tournament Team Pick, and was an All-American Second Team.
According to assistant head coach Chris Carrawell these numbers were driven by Banchereau’s approach to the off-season and pre-game preparations.
“I think it’s in the summertime, and I noticed that during the year, for example, in the middle of the year, he was really in great shape,” Carrowell said before the draft. “He was very, very fit. I say this about Paolo because these grandmasters, these scouts call you – Paolo is a sports rat. He is a sports rat. I mean for a young guy who plays 38, 39 minutes a game, he’ll come back and want to practice, do some extra work, and we’re like, “Hey man, you gotta go.” Hooper’s hoop. A lot of these guys are working out. , go to the gym and then go home and play video games all day. All day, 2K or something. Paolo, I’m not saying he doesn’t play video games, but he also watches a lot, like in old school He’ll go outside and play and then watch Magic [Johnson] as well as [Larry] Bird – I expose my age a little, but we would watch and play, play and watch. Paolo is one of those guys. He loves it, man, he loves it.”
Banchero became the fifth Blue Devil to finish in first place overall of all time. Kentucky is in second place with three former No. 1s. 17 other schools had the top two picks. Other Blue Devils who have taken first place overall are Art Heyman (1963), Elton Brand (1999), Kyrie Irving (2011) and Zion Williamson (2019).
The Magic is hoping this choice could change their fortunes after two straight seasons in the Eastern Conference basement. In the 2021–22 season, the Magic went 22–60, placing them 29th out of 30 teams. Only the Houston Rockets had the worst record. Orlando hasn’t made it out of the first round of the playoffs since 2010, but perhaps this No. 1 overall pick could steer the team in the right direction again.