August 13, 2022

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To say it’s been a whirlwind for Paolo Banchero, who the Orlando Magic drafted with the No. 1 choose, since Thursday night could be an understatement.

Particularly since he was surrounded by uncertainty till moments earlier than NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took the draft stage at Barclays Heart in New York Metropolis.

The Magic, who’ve taken delight in being one of many league’s extra tight-lipped organizations, saved the key about who they had been going to take with the highest choose so effectively that even Banchero wasn’t certain he’d be taken No. 1 getting into Thursday.

Banchero knew he had an opportunity.

However he stated it wasn’t till his agent Mike Miller, the previous NBA participant who the Magic drafted with the No. 5 pick of the College of Florida in 2000, instructed him “congratulations” 30 seconds earlier than Silver took the stage did he know he’d be the highest choose.

“[Miller] was simply telling me to remain prepared and be ready,” Banchero stated. “It occurred fairly quick…It most likely took me 20-Half-hour to actually settle down. I used to be simply so crammed with feelings.”

The whirlwind didn’t cease there.

Interviews with national media outlets came about between Thursday night time and Friday morning earlier than withdrawing for Orlando.

It was when Banchero was alongside Caleb Houstan, who the Magic drafted at No. 32, coach Jamahl Mosley and president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman Friday afternoon contained in the Magic’s interview room at Amway Heart did all the pieces that transpired since Thursday resonate.

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“I’d say touchdown right here is when it sort of actually hit me,” Banchero stated, “that I’m a part of the Magic and that I used to be the No. 1 choose.”

Added Houstan, a 2021 McDonald’s All-American who was a consensus former 5-star popping out of Montverde Academy earlier than enjoying one season on the College of Michigan: “A variety of pleasure occurred. A variety of feelings. Simply actually glad I ended up right here.”

The Magic are equally as completely happy they’ve Banchero and Houstan.

“From Day 1 we’ve continuously talked about IQ, character, versatility, profitable mindset with our guys,” Mosley stated. “[Banchero] suits all of these issues and extra. The character of the fellows we’ve got on this staff, [Banchero] suits that. Caleb suits that. That’s what we’re constructing and that’s what we’ll proceed to construct.”

Now the actual work begins.

Banchero and Houstan may have a few weeks to get conversant in the group earlier than serving to the Magic kick off NBA summer time league in Las Vegas in opposition to the Houston Rockets on July 7 in entrance of a nationwide viewers (ESPN).

Summer time league runs from July 7-17.

Banchero is aware of much more consideration will probably be placed on him because the No. 1 choose. He’s used to expectations. It comes with being a former 5-star and enjoying at Duke — particularly throughout coach Mike Krzyzewski’s ultimate season.

Whereas Banchero is aware of this will probably be totally different, he’s embracing the Magic and the stress that comes with being a draft’s prime choose.

“It’s nothing I really feel like I’m not used to,” he stated. “It’s positively totally different. I really feel like I handled a whole lot of the identical stuff this yr. I had a few unhealthy video games and everybody has their opinions and whatnot, however you may’t take note of that. Individuals are going to say what they’re going to say. So long as me and my coaches are on the identical web page, we’ll determine it out. I’m not nervous about what’s being stated on the surface.”

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If there’s anybody near Banchero who understands what it takes to start out a profession effectively, it’s his agent.

Miller received the 2001 Rookie of the 12 months with the Magic to kick off a 17-year NBA profession.

“He’s simply instructed me from the start how nice of a spot Orlando was, how a lot he favored it, how he nonetheless has nice relationships right here,” Banchero stated of Miller, who spent his first three seasons in Orlando. “He loved his time right here and I’m simply blessed to be right here. It’s humorous the way it all labored out.”

Miller, whose company LIFT Sports activities Administration additionally represents Magic guard R.J. Hampton, referred to as Banchero a “foundational piece”.

“They did a whole lot of due diligence on him,” Miller said. “Guys like Paolo don’t work by way of the door fairly often. He makes the entire staff higher. Clearly, he’s the very best participant on this draft. He’s about to point out it.”

This text first appeared on E-mail Khobi Worth at [email protected] or observe him on Twitter at @khobi_price.