No one was more shocked on the Orlando Magic choosing Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the highest decide in the 2022 NBA Draft than the 19-year-old ahead himself.
Banchero, who turned the No. 1 decide on Thursday following months of hypothesis that Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. was Orlando-bound, didn’t work out individually for the Magic in the course of the pre-draft course of, in line with a number of stories. He told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt that he didn’t know the Magic have been choosing him till “20 or 30 seconds before” the decide.
“My agent, Mike Miller, a couple of minutes before Orlando got put on the clock, he just was like, ‘Stay ready, be ready cause anything can happen,’ he wasn’t guaranteeing anything but he was just telling me to be ready, and then probably, 20 or 30 seconds before the commissioner [Adam Silver] walked out on stage, he told me and he looked at me and said, ‘Congratulations.’ I didn’t have time to think about it, or even realize what he said before I heard my name,” Banchero mentioned.
The Magic’s curveball shocked a lot of the NBA group, although the 6-foot-10 Banchero advised Van Pelt that it wasn’t fairly that “random.”
“It was a little surprising but not all the way, I did all the pre-draft stuff for Orlando, was on multiple Zoom calls with management and coaches, looked their new practice facility at their building, Orlando did all their due diligence and homework so it wasn’t just a random pick or anything,” he continued. “I didn’t work out but I did everything else.”
Banchero completed the 2021-22 season at Duke by averaging 17.2 factors per recreation and seven.8 rebounds. And whereas his subsequent chapter awaits in Orlando, he’s nonetheless savoring “one of the best moments” of his life on draft night time.
“This is one of the best moments of my life. … This isn’t even a dream. I feel like this is a fantasy,” Banchero mentioned. “I dreamed of being in the NBA, but being the No. 1 overall pick, this is crazy.”
Gonzaga star Chet Holmgren adopted Banchero because the No. 2 choice for the Oklahoma City Thunder, whereas Smith slipped to No. 3 to the Houston Rockets.