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Orlando Magic make Paolo Banchero No. 1 pick in 2022 NBA draft


Paolo Banchero never worked out for the Orlando Magic. He didn't have to, either. His year at Duke provided all the information they needed. Watch a live news conference in the video player above.

The latest -- and perhaps most important -- piece to Orlando's rebuild is Banchero, the 6-foot-10 forward who went No. 1 overall in Thursday's NBA draft. He met with the Magic several times in recent weeks, taking part in everything from personality profiles to get-to-know-you interviews, and what happened in those sessions only steeled Orlando's belief that he was the best pick.

"We feel he was the best player in college basketball," Magic President Jeff Weltman said. "And we feel that he will continue to grow every year for many years to come."

Banchero averaged 17.2 points in his lone college season, along with 7.8 rebounds, and was a third-team Associated Press All-American. There were roars from the crowd at Amway Center -- Banchero's new home court -- when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced just past 8 p.m. that the Magic were on the clock.  It didn't take long for the Magic to send in the official word. Banchero is heading to Orlando, with plans for his official welcome at his new home on Friday.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils works on offense against Leaky Black #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Caesars Superdome on April 2, 2022 in New Orl

"A dream come true," Banchero said, when detailing what the moment that he heard his name as the No. 1 pick. "It was a really surreal moment."

The Magic also had the No. 32 overall pick on Thursday, selecting the University of Michigan's Caleb Houstan.  A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Houstan also has ties to Central Florida.  He graduated from Montverde Academy in Lake County. As a senior (2020-21), he was named Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Houstan was also named a 2021 McDonald’s All-American, a Naismith Second Team All-American, and to the Sports Illustrated All-American Third Team.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Michigan Wolverines forward Caleb Houstan (22) dribbles around a screen during the mens Big Ten tournament college basketball game between the Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan Wolverines on March 10, 2022, at Gainbridge Fiel

The 6-foot, 8-inch Houstan played and started in all 34 games last season as a freshman at Michigan, leading the Wolverines in three-point field goals made. He was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the period ending Jan. 24 and helped Michigan reach the Sweet Sixteen during the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive time.

Banchero and Houstan join a young core in Orlando that already includes 2017 top overall pick Markelle Fultz, a pair of top-eight picks from the 2021 draft in Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony -- the No. 15 pick in 2020. Orlando also has the No. 6 picks from the 2017 and 2018 draft, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba. It's possible that when next season starts Orlando could have as many as six lottery picks, nine top-16 selections, and 12 first-rounders on its roster.

There's a lot of room to grow. The Magic went 22-60 this past season. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.