Monday June 27, 2022

Paolo Banchero received a special congratulations after being selected by the Orlando Magic as the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

The Duke forward had an emotional reaction to the selection, and shakily offered a few words to ESPN’S Monica McNutt following the pick. She mentioned that there was a surprise waiting for Banchero, and directed him to watch a heartfelt congratulations from his former collegiate coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“Paolo, congratulations. I’m so happy for you and your family and the commitment you’ve made,” Krzyzewski said via video. “You are, I think, the most versatile player in the draft. You can play anywhere on the court. You’re a winner. You are going to help tremendously and have a terrific NBA career.”

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Banchero was then asked by McNutt what his experience as a Duke Blue Devil taught him. 

“He really taught me how to be a man,” Banchero told McNutt following the draft’s first selection. “Being so far away from home, he was there for me whether it was telling me when I was messing up or complimenting me and let me know I was doing well, he was always there. He is the greatest coach I’ve ever had.”

Coach K recently retired after a 41-season career with Duke. He lead the Blue Devils to five national championships, and guided the team to a Final Four appearance in the 2022 March Madness tournament. 

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Dani Mohr is a trending sports writer for the South Region of USA Today Network based at The Tennessean in Nashville. Contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @daniraemohr

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