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In a last-second surprise, Paolo Banchero of Duke was selected with the number one overall pick by the Orlando Magic Thursday night.
“I can’t believe what just happened,” Banchero said after being selected. “I never would have thought that this would happen. I wanted to be in the NBA but I didn’t know I would be here. I really honestly didn’t. This is unbelievable and I can’t speak right now.”
Leading up to draft night, the odds continued to shift on who the Magic would select with the first overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft. Early Thursday morning, Banchero became the betting favorite to go number one, before ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the top three selections were “increasingly firm.”
“As team boards finalize today, the 1-2-3 of the NBA Draft is increasingly firm, per sources: Jabari Smith to Orlando, Chet Holmgren to Oklahoma City and Paolo Banchero to Houston,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
Smith – a forward out of Auburn – quickly became the betting favorite, but as the draft drew closer, Wojnarowski reported that Banchero to the Magic was still very much in play.
And he was, with Banchero becoming the fourth number one overall pick in Magic franchise history. Based on past history, Orlando fans have a reason to be hopeful about the future of the No. 1 overall pick.
The last three times the Magic drafted at the top of the NBA Draft, Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, and Dwight Howard were the result.
Banchero led Duke to a 2022 Final Four appearance, and at 6-10, can handle the ball and finish down low. He’s not an elite shooter, shooting 33.8% from three in his lone season at Duke, but he did shoot 47.8% from the field overall.
In his lone year at Duke, Banchero averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.