Banchero, first in college to remember: 22 points despite the cramps

The Italian winger, among the top two picks in the next NBA draft, showcases his talent at Madison Square Garden, finishing with a masterful performance in 31 ‘and helping Duke beat Kentucky 79-71

Good the first. Indeed, very good. Paolo Banchero confirms in front of the over 18 thousand of Madison Square Garden in New York that he is truly a promise, a talent who will turn 19 on Friday and which under the eyes of half the NBA shows why he is being talked about as the first or second absolute choice in the next Draft . His college debut with Duke, the school of the legendary Mike Krzyzewski who after 42 years as a legend will close on the bench at the end of the season, is to be remembered: not only for 22 points and 7 rebounds on the scoresheet in 31 ‘, but for everything the talent that the promised blue showed on the pitch, despite the cramps that tormented him in the second half. And for the victory, since Duke also thanks to Banchero and the other promising freshman in the smell of Nba Trevor Keels (25 points for the guard) folded 79-71 Kentucky, another blue blood school for basketball (not only for the color of the shirt).


With the skyline of his Seattle tattooed on his right arm, after months of waiting to work in Duke’s facilities in Durham, Banchero shows at the first opportunity everything he can do. The first shot misses him, a layup just 17 ”inside his college career, but it’s the only mistake from inside the three-point arc. Paolo already has a deadly average shot (it is no coincidence that he hits the mark 7 times out of 8), while he must instead work on the three-point shot, with an airball in the first half that reminds everyone how this is the first game of his first year at college and how a season of apprenticeship at a master’s court as coach K can only do him good. For the first time Paolo is the best of his team, the best in the field: attentive and willing in defense, ready to commit himself and direct the department, he shows his athleticism, his versatility, his intelligence, his ability to carry the ball and start the game. He closes with 14 points, but less than 4 ‘inside the second half the cramps begin to torment him: they first force him to have his legs massaged on the sidelines, then to return to the locker room. On the parquet he returns in the second half, but after a couple of spells they stop him again, forcing him to call the timeout to catch his breath. However, Banchero plays the final 8 ‘, but it is evident that he is not at his best and fails to be as explosive as in the first half. However, the cramps do not prevent him from asserting his body under the basket, from showing how well educated his game is, how much a difference it makes at this level.

Promise kept

It’s not easy to play well when you have everyone’s eyes on you. Banchero started the match with the ACC Player of the Year award without having played a single preseason game, with the All American label stuck on him. The promised blue confirmed that he does not feel the pressure, that he has a complete technical background and that he is a complete player, the universality that has long put him on the radar of NBA observers. “We are young, but many of my players have grown up in this game,” 74-year-old coach K said of his Duke. A speech that also applies to Banchero: this was his first match in college (the second at 1am on the Italian night between Friday and Saturday against Army), but he met expectations. It is shown that he can be the star of this NCAA season, but also of the next Draft. And of the national team, which awaits him with open arms to build the future.

Banchero’s statistics

22 points (7/8 from two, 0/3 from three, 8/9 free throws), 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 loss in 31 ‘.

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Banchero, first in college to remember: 22 points despite the cramps