LeBron James took notice of the debut of a specific Duke basketball freshman.
There were several Duke basketball players who were impressive in the opening night victory against No. 10 Kentucky, but only one caught the eye of LeBron James.
Paolo Banchero‘s college basketball debut came under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, and the Seattle, Washington native did not disappoint.
The ACC Preseason Player of the Year poured in 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting in addition to seven rebounds and a steal in a 79-71 victory for No. 9 Duke.
Banchero struggled with cramping for a majority of the game, specifically midway through the second half, but returned to the court and was a major factor in the Blue Devils closing out their first victory of the season.
After the team returned to Durham and continued its recovery from the game, associate head coach Jon Scheyer surprised Paolo Banchero with the newest edition of SLAM Magazine, which features the Duke freshman on the cover wearing the LeBron 11 sneakers.
The combination of Banchero’s play and placement on the magazine earned him praise from Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.
Duke basketball freshman has fan-boy moment after LeBron’s post
Despite standing on top of the college basketball world less than 24 hours prior, Paolo Banchero reacted how all 18-year-olds would react had they been featured on LeBron James’ Instagram.
However, LeBron James wasn’t the only person in the national spotlight who was singing the praises of Paolo Banchero on Wednesday. The Duke freshman did the unthinkable by leaving ESPN’s First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith speechless after his performance against the Wildcats.
The world will not have to wait long for an encore performance from Paolo Banchero as the Blue Devils will play two games on consecutive days, beginning on Friday in the Duke Veteran’s Day Showcase against Army and Campbell, respectively.