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Paolo Banchero On The Strange Nature Of Being A Campus Celebrity

Whatever else you say, he was still just a teenager.

Florida State v Duke
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 19: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts following a basket against the Florida State Seminoles in the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 19, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

This is a bit jarring but perfectly understandable: in a podcast interview with teammate RJ Hampton, Paolo Banchero said this: “At Duke, it was, you were a celebrity. People treated you like you were royalty there if you were on the basketball team. ... Being the highly touted player and the one who everybody knows, it was just kind of elevated even more. ...

“I love Duke, by far, but it was like sometimes, it feel like you were a zoo animal or something. In class, you would see them whispering about you, staring at you. I then caught people trying to record me.”

That’s pretty heavy for an 18-year-old kid, no matter how grounded he may be.

It’s nothing new though. We heard stories about a Duke player, who later became a high draft pick, who regularly came back to his room to find women’s phone numbers on his note board. It was like a weird mishmash of calling for delivery and hooking up.

But it speaks well of Banchero that he didn’t trust being treated as a celebrity by his fellow students.

Don’t misunderstand - he likes it. You know he likes it. So would most of us. But he seems to recognize that, on one level, it’s really ridiculous. Good on him.