Duke freshman Paolo Banchero could very well be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft next summer. The big man out of Seattle was nothing short of sensational in his college debut against Kentucky in the Champions Classic on Tuesday night, putting up 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, with seven rebounds and two steals in a 79-71 Blue Devils win.
While there was plenty of hype about Banchero coming into Duke, his performance on national TV in a spotlight game against another blue-blood program raised his profile immensely. Where he goes at the top of next year’s draft will be up for debate for the next 8 months, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be headed to the Association soon. While he’s been in the spotlight for some time as a prospect and is set to be a pro within a year’s time, he’s still an 18-year-old who can’t help but be giddy when his favorite players show him some love.
After his performance on Tuesday night, LeBron James posted a pic of Banchero lacing up a pair of Duke PE LeBron 11s on his Instagram, saying Paolo is “so tough.”
For the normally calm and cool Banchero, he posted to Twitter in giddy excitement, noting that people will have to excuse him for being a fan for a minute because “my GOAT” posted his pic and showed love.
no way bron put me on tha story man sorry but y’all gotta let me be a fan for a second 😭 that’s my goat fr 🤞🏽
— Paolo Banchero🇮🇹 (@Pp_doesit) November 10, 2021
It’s a cool moment and is also a reminder of just how long James has been in the league. Banchero was born in November of 2002, so he has never watched the NBA without LeBron in it. Next year he’ll get to go up against his favorite player on the court, but for now he can enjoy being on the King’s radar.