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Paolo Banchero Update!

Why did he pass on the Italian National Team...and what injury set him back in the late winter and early spring?

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic
 Apr 4, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) dribbles the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the third quarter at Amway Center. 
Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

As we reported recently, former Duke star Paolo Banchero, who was the #1 pick of the NBA Draft a year ago, decided against playing for Italy and will instead play for Team USA in this summer’s FIBA Tournament.

The Italians were very unhappy - they thought that he would be playing for them and that would have been a huge coup. But it didn’t happen.


Banchero’s mom.

She played for Team USA in her day and young Paolo saw a picture of that team and dreamed of playing for the US. But Team USA overlooked him and, as Banchero has said multiple times, that was frustrating.

But eventually the US did express an interest, and when that happened, it was Ciao Italia.

Banchero is an interesting case because while a lot of Duke players are sons of former players or coaches, they’re almost always following in dad’s footsteps, not mom’s. That’s pretty cool.

On another note, all of us like to talk about athletes and say things like, why is he playing so badly?

Because some times there are reasons. And we mentioned last season that Banchero didn’t shoot very well.

That may be because he was also dealing with a neck injury, which we didn't realize.