Rome, 24 June 2022 – Historic night for Italian sports and basketball. The Draft Nba in New York it turns blue thanks to Paolo Bancherochosen by Orlando Magic with the very first call. After Andrea Bargnani in the 2006 Draft, here is the second Italian to land in the most important basketball league in the world from the front door, called with the first choice. Banchero, of an American mother (Rhonda Smith, former WNBA player), but naturalized Italian thanks to his father, has returned from a season as a protagonist in the NCAA with the college tank top Duke and in recent days he had seen his popularity grow in the Draft ranking, up to the big surprise of tonight: the call to number 1 of the Orlando Magic. “I’m living a dream – she confesses – I told everyone that I wouldn’t cry, but I didn’t. Now a great challenge awaits me, but I’ve always been waiting for such a moment”.
Big forward reaching 2.10 meters, Banchero was born on November 12, 2002 in Seattle, but he is clear origins of our country, from where his father’s grandparents, originally from Liguria, left many years ago, who emigrated to the USA to work as farmers and miners in the coal mines. Now the nephew will play in the NBA as an absolute star, but he will also be a representative of the Italian national team by Gianmarco Pozzecco, with whom he has already declared he wants to play: “I am proud of my roots, I love Italy – he declared in the press room -. I will play with the Italian national team. Not this summer but next”.
Banchero was preferred to two other rising stars: Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. In addition to Banchero, two other Italians have been selected in the Draft: it is Gabriele Procida (chosen with the 36 by the Detroit Pistons) e Matteo Spanish (chosen with the 50 by the Minnesota Timberwolves).