ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Magic chose Duke forward Paolo Banchero with the first pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Thursday.
It was the first surprise of the night as experts speculated for weeks that Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. or Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren would go first.
“I can’t believe what just happened, honestly,” Banchero said after the selection. “I wanted to be in the NBA, but I didn’t know I would be here. I really, honestly, didn’t.”
In his lone season with Duke, Banchero averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and was a third-team Associated Press All-American.
It was the fourth time that the Orlando Magic had the first overall pick in the draft.
In 1992 they used the first pick to bring Shaquille O’Neal to Orlando. They chose Chris Weber first overall the very next year but traded him away for Penny Hardaway and a batch of future picks that would eventually include Vince Carter and Mike Miller.
Most recently, in 2004, the Magic took Dwight Howard with the first overall pick.
Banchero is expected to arrive in his new home as soon as Friday.
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