Paolo Banchero sometimes felt like a « zoo animal » at Duke

All eyes were on No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero for his NBA debut on Wednesday night. But the Orlando Magic rookie revealed he wasn’t always comfortable with people watching his every move, especially during his days at Duke.

Banchero said that while he enjoyed his time there, he also felt like a “zoo animal” due to how often his privacy was violated on campus, whether it was other students taking constantly photos and videos of him or strangers coming to his dorm to introduce their families to him.

« Sometimes it felt like you were, like, a zoo animal or something, bro, » Banchero said on the Podcast for young basketball player. “They would like, oh my God, in class, for you to see them over there whispering about you. Like, looking at you.

Banchero lasted just one season at Duke, where he averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game and led the Blue Devils to the Final Four before losing to their North Carolina rival.

Magic rookie Paolo Banchero (5) attempts a layup as Detroit Pistons goalie Cory Joseph (18) defends during the second half of their game on Wednesday.
Paolo Banchero said he sometimes felt like a "zoo animals" at Duke.
Paolo Banchero said he sometimes felt like a « zoo animal » at Duke.
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In his NBA debut, the 19-year-old Rookie of the Year favorite didn’t disappoint, posting 27 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks against the Pistons, though Detroit won the game, 113-109.

Still, Banchero became the first No. 1 pick to score more than 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in his NBA debut since LeBron James in 2003. With more performances like that, many more people will follow his every move.


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