Magic rookie Paolo Banchero entertained his hometown fans Saturday with a 50-point performance at the CrawsOver Pro-Am in Seattle (video link from NBA.com). The overall No. 1 pick teamed up with No. 2 selection Chet Holmgren, who had 34 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the exhibition.
Banchero has a long relationship with the event’s organizer, former NBA player Jamal Crawford. In a recent appearance with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on their “All The Smoke” podcast, Banchero talked about valuable advice that he received from Crawford (hat tip to Cody Taylor of USA Today’s Rookie Wire).
“Since my freshman year of high school, he has kind of took me under his wing and started taking me to the gym and letting me play in the pro-am, all of the pick-up games and stuff from when I was 15,” Banchero said. “At that time, (the NBA) seemed so far but he was like, ‘High school is going to fly by. It’s closer than you think. You just gotta start getting prepared for it now even though it may seem like it’s far away. You gotta lock in now.’ That put things into perspective and kinda made me take it even that more serious. I was always in the gym working and trying to chase my dream but that’s when I started taking really taking care of my body and doing the right things because he was talking to me about it all of the time.”
There’s more from Orlando:
- An aiding and abetting charge against Banchero related to a Duke teammate’s drunk driving arrest last year has been dropped, according to Steve Wiseman of The Raleigh News & Observer. Police said Banchero was riding in the back seat and was charged because the vehicle was registered to him.
- Kevon Harris, who signed a two-way contract with the Magic this week, is thrilled to finally get his shot at the NBA, per Dan Savage of NBA.com. Harris, who went undrafted out of Stephen F. Austin in 2020, played in the G League and spent some time in Croatia over the past two years. The 25-year-old guard is coming off a strong Summer League showing with Minnesota, averaging 15.8 points per game in Las Vegas. “I was able to show that I can do more than just score the basketball,” Harris said. “I feel like that was a stigma on me. I’m able to guard and be very versatile on and off ball. I feel like I was able to show my skillset and everything and show that I belong in the NBA.”
- Markelle Fultz, who returned from an ACL tear in late February, can be a positive influence on the rest of Orlando’s young roster, writes Jackson Frank of Uproxx.