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Orlando Magic Selects Paolo Banchero as First Pick of NBA Draft: ‘I Was Overwhelmed with Emotions’

Orlando Magic Selects Paolo Banchero as First Pick of NBA Draft: 'I Was Overwhelmed with Emotions'

Paolo Banchero is headed to Orlando! 

The six-foot-ten college basketball star from Duke University was chosen by the Orlando Magic as the first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Thursday, ESPN reported. 

According to the outlet, the selection came as a surprise as for weeks leading up to the draft Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. was expected to be the top pick. 

On Friday morning, Banchero appeared on Good Morning America where he was asked if he had “found the words” to express his feelings about the big news.

“I definitely have calmed down and got my emotions together,” he told GMA‘s T.J. Holmes.

In elaborating on how the moment felt, he said, “I was overwhelmed with emotions — my first time ever, tearing up, crying, you know, tears of joy, so it was a once in a lifetime experience,” he said Friday morning in the studio. 

Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils works on offense against Leaky Black #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Caesars Superdome on April 2, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils works on offense against Leaky Black #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four at Caesars Superdome on April 2, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Paolo Banchero
| Credit: Lance King/Getty

Banchero said that while the moment was a bit of a surprise, he was given word of the selection about 20-30 seconds before the pick was officially announced. 

When asked how his parents, who were seen waving from just outside the Times Square studio, reacted to the news, Banchero said they expressed how proud they were of their son.

“They told me how proud they were, and how excited they were for me to get started in Orlando,” he said. “It’s a great moment for my family.”

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Banchero was also asked about the story behind his fashion choice for the evening. The athlete sported a bright purple double-breasted suit, which he paired with shimmering silver shoes.

“I chose the purple, both of my parents actually went to the University of Washington, and everyone knows I didn’t end up going there, you know,” he said (the school’s colors are purple and gold).

Banchero continued, “It was just my way of paying respects, a kind of a little bit of a ‘I’m sorry’ type of thing.”