Paolo Banchero was Orlando Magic’s first overall pick in the 2022 draft on Thursday night, a move that came as a surprise to many. Banchero, wearing a purple suit full of bling, received a loud ovation inside Barclays Center, where Duke lost in the ACC Tournament final.

Orlando Magic was expected to pick Auburn forward Jabari Smith, who was the top choice for many teams scrambling to get a line-up advantage in the next season. Smith was considered to be one of the best offensive players in the drafts this year.

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Who is Paolo Banchero?

Paolo Banchero, who is 19 years old, has been a star player for the Duke Blue Devils basketball team. He lead the Blue Devils to the Final Four in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season.

Banchero, a native of Washington’s Seattle, weighs 250 pounds and is 6-foot-10, according to the NBA’s official website. Playing roughly 39 games for the Duke Blue Devils, Banchero has maintained an impressive pre-NBA tally. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists, media reports suggest.

His Atlantic Coast Conference run has also been noteworthy. He stood at the fourth position in the ACC in the rebounds chart and registered at least a dozen double-doubles this past season. He was also given the ACC Rookie of the Year before he declared his NBA draft run.

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Paolo Banchero’s link to professional basketball is old. His mother, Rhonda, was also a popular player and was part of the Washington college team. She is an all-time scoring leader in the women’s programme, media reports suggest. She then became a part of WBNA and played six seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs.

Paolo Banchero also has links to Italy, a country that offered him citizenship in 2020. He was also eligible to play for the Italian National Basketball Team.