Orlando Magic make surprise first pick with Paolo Banchero in the NBA draft as Britain’s Jeremy Sochan is also selected in the top 10 by San Antonio Spurs as ninth choice (and also hangs out with PSG star Kylian Mbappe)
- Paolo Banchero was selected ahead of Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith
- Jeremy Sochan who grew up in Milton Keynes was ninth choice for the Spurs
- Sochan was joined at the event by Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe
- Holmgren picked by Oklahoma City Thunder and Smith joined Houston Rockets
The Orlando Magic took Paolo Banchero first overall in the NBA Draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Thursday, while Britain also had representation in the top 10 as Jeremy Sochan was drafted to San Antonio Spurs.
Banchero, who averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 39 starts in his one year at Duke, will look to turn around a lacklustre Magic after their 22-60 season.
‘I plan on bringing everything I have to Orlando,’ Banchero, dressed in a show-stopping bedazzled purple suit, told reporters.
Paolo Banchero was a surprise first pick in the NBA Draft for the Orlando Magic on Thursday
Jabari Smith (right), Banchero (left) and Chet Holmgren pose for a portrait after being drafted
‘First off, just a winning mindset, a work-first mindset. Just ready to get in with the guys and get to work. This is one of the best moments of my life. I’m super excited.’
Sochan, who was born and raised in the Milton Keynes, was the ninth pick overall for Spurs.
He has previously spoken of his delight of representing England and Poland in the NBA – with his mother’s Polish roots meaning he represents them at international level – and was pictured at the draft with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.
Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren went to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Auburn forward Jabari Smith headed to the Houston Rockets.
While draft night shocks are rare, Orlando’s selection surprised many – including Banchero himself – with some experts having predicted sharpshooter Smith would take the top spot.
‘I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe what just happened, honestly,’ said the 19-year-old forward, who helped lead the Blue Devils to the Final Four this year.
‘I wanted to be in the NBA but I didn’t know I would be here.’
Jeremy Sochan, who grew up in Milton Keynes, poses with Kylian Mbappe at the Draft
Sochan shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as ninth pick
Holmgren, who stands 2.13m (6ft 10in) tall, said he would use his size to help the Thunder, who were 24-58 last season.
‘I can use my length and my quickness to cover a lot of ground and take up space,’ he told reporters.
Rounding out the top five, the Sacramento Kings picked up Iowa forward Keegan Murray and the Detroit Pistons took Purdue’s Jaden Ivey.
The draft, which kicked off a week after the Golden State Warriors collected their fourth NBA title in eight years, featured a strong cohort of international talent.
Canadians Bennedict Mathurin and Shaedon Sharpe were selected sixth and seventh by the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers.
Australian Dyson Daniels went eighth to the New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks selected Frenchman Ousmane Dieng 11th.