NEW YORK — The Orlando Magic selected Duke forward Paolo Banchero with the first pick of the 2022 NBA Draft Thursday night.
After weeks of Auburn’s Jabari Smith being projected as the consensus first pick, the Magic shocked everyone by selecting Banchero.
Banchero is the second No. 1 pick in the past four years for the Blue Devils (Zion Williamson became No. 1 at the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019) and the fifth-best overall pick in program history.
Banchero, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward, averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists in 33 minutes in 39 games for the Blue Devils.
2022 NBA Draft No. 1 Picks Paolo Banchero’s Impressive Resume
The Seattle native was fourth in ACC rebounds and had 12 double-doubles last season. Banchero was named the ACC Rookie of the Year and an All-ACC First Team member last season before declaring for the draft.
Banchero’s mother, Rhonda, played college basketball in Washington and is still the all-time leading scorer for the women’s program. She was then drafted in the third round of the 2000 WNBA Draft and played six seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs.
“Some of my earliest memories are just being in the gym, being at practices and watching her play,” Banchero told Yahoo Sports. “She helped me become the player I am today and taught me a lot.”
How Paolo Banchero adapts to the Orlando Magic
It was the first No. 1 draft pick for the Orlando Magic since 2004, when they selected Dwight Howard with the overall pick. In the past two drafts, the Magic have added talent to their backcourt after taking Cole Anthony with the 15th pick in 2020 and Jalen Suggs (No. 5) and Franz Wagner (No. 8) in 2021.
Banchero will fill a much-needed void in the paint alongside Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba next season as the Magic look to improve on their 22-60 record from last season.