Orlando Magic's young and talented basketball player, Paolo Banchero, was awarded the NBA Rookie of the Year title after an impressive debut season in professional basketball.
Outstanding On-court Performance
Banchero played 72 games for the Magic, averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds, and nearly 4 assists per game.
He led all rookies in points, with 15 games where he scored 25 points or more. Banchero was selected as the first pick in the NBA Draft by Orlando last year, and the former Duke Blue Devil basketball player quickly made a name for himself.
He dominated several offensive categories for the Magic and with this recognition, he joins the likes of Shaquille O'Neal and Mike Miller as Orlando players who have received the Rookie of the Year award.
Words of Wisdom from Mentor Mike Miller
Banchero, during the TNT broadcast of the announcement, reminisced about a conversation he had with his mentor Mike Miller on draft night. "He looked at me and asked me if I was going to be the Rookie of the Year," Banchero said.
"I confidently replied 'yes' It was always a goal I had, something I had my eye on from the second I got drafted. I'm glad I was able to make it happen."
Coach Jamahl Mosley's Take on Banchero's Progress
Orlando Magic's coach, Jamahl Mosley, praised Banchero's maturity and willingness to play the right way, saying that it was one of his biggest takeaways from Banchero's first season.
"He had the ability to adjust in-game to whatever was asked of him to impact winning," Mosley said. Banchero acknowledges that he is not a finished product and that the team wants him to focus on specific areas over the offseason.
"I think there are so many ways in which he can grow," Mosley said. "I think a lot of times, rookies come in and try to do everything. The biggest talk with him is just to have a focus on one or two pieces for the summer, where he can improve in certain areas because he's going to work.
I don't think that's going to be any question whatsoever."
Banchero's Aspirations for the Future
Banchero also shared his plans for improvement over the coming months. "I want to be more consistent and more dangerous from 3-point range next season," he said.
"There were stretches during this year where I shot the ball well. I just need to find the consistency. I think expanding my range in Year 2, then just getting in the best shape I possibly can - I think I was in good shape this year, but I just want to take it to another level.
To get to where I want to be, everything's just going to have to be kicked up a notch. And I'm looking forward to that."