Thus far, the summer of 2021-22 Duke basketball gem Paolo Banchero has included going No. 1 overall at the NBA Draft to the Orlando Magic, dominating in two Summer League outings, and scoring 50 points during a pro-am game.
Then on Friday night, Banchero was a guest of honor in his hometown, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park before their 4-3 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Angels.
As one can see in the tweeted video below, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward stepped to the mound while soaking in a warm welcome from the crowd following a kind introduction from the PA announcer:
Meanwhile, the big screen displayed images from Banchero's time as a five-star recruit at O'Dea High School in Seattle, as the eventual ACC Rookie of the Year under now-retired legend Mike Krzyzewski, and as the first name off the board on draft night.
A strike from the Duke basketball righty
After raising both hands to call on the fans for extra support, Paolo Banchero calmly tossed an apparent strike to Seattle Mariners pitcher Paul Sewald.
Later, the official account of the Mariners tweeted photos and a show of love for "Seattle's own" while aptly titling the moment: "First pick ➡ first pitch."
Paolo Banchero will be a teammate next season to another former Duke basketball one-and-done in big man Wendell Carter Jr., a fifth-year pro and full-time starter fresh off averaging 15.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in his first complete season with the Magic.
That NBA Blue Devil duo will look to pull Orlando (22-60 last season) out of the cellar in the Eastern Conference standings.
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