Duke basketball: Coach K delivers special message to Paolo Banchero

Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero and Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero and Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Mike Krzyzewski delivered a special message to Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero. 

Mike Krzyzewski did not get the fairy tale of leaving the Duke basketball program with a National Championship but the Hall of Famer leaves the coaching ranks with a final No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick.

The Orlando Magic stunned the basketball world by taking Blue Devil superstar freshman Paolo Banchero with the top overall selection in Thursday’s draft over Auburn’s Jabari Smith.

Banchero was at a loss for words during his interview with ESPN after he greeted NBA commissioner, and Duke graduate, Adam Silver on stage at the Barclays Center but Krzyzewski had a special video waiting for his star forward when he sat down.

“Paolo, congratulations! I’m so happy for you and your family,” Krzyzewski began.

“You are, I think, the most versatile player in the draft. You can play anywhere on the court and you are a winner. You’re going to help tremendously and have a terrific NBA career.”

Paolo Banchero joins Zion Williamson, Kyrie Irving, Elton Brand, and Art Heyman as No. 1 overall picks that have come from Duke, the most of any school in draft history.

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“Coach K, he really taught me how to really be a man,” Banchero responded to the emotional video from his college coach.

“Just being away from home, being so far from home, he was there for me. Whether it was criticizing me, telling me when I was messing up or complimenting me and telling me when I did something well. He was always there,” the former Blue Devil continued.

“He’s the greatest coach I ever had.”

Duke basketball program looking to make more NBA Draft history

The Blue Devils still have four players available in the NBA Draft, AJ Griffin, Mark Williams, Wendell Moore, and Trevor Keels.

Duke will break a program record for most players selected in a single NBA Draft after having four players taken in 1986, 1999, 2017 and 2018.

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The 1999 NBA Draft saw four Blue Devils selected as first round picks, the first program to ever accomplish the feat.

Kentucky became the first program in history to record five first round selections in the 2010 NAB Draft and Duke will look to match the Wildcats record on Thursday night.

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