Credit: Lance King/Getty Images
Credit Lance King/Getty Images

Paolo Banchero, one of the rising stars in college basketball and the potential no.1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, is getting a lot of love from Italy.

Born in Seattle, his family has Italian roots, and Banchero has received an Italian passport, and he's eligible to play for the Italian NT. 

The Duke player spoke with Simone Sandri of La Gazzetta dello Sport and confirmed his interest in playing for the Italian NT as soon as possible.

"In the past couple of years, I've expanded my knowledge of my Italian heritage, I got more familiar with it, and hopefully I'll be able to get out there soon, sometimes this summer and actually experience Italy," Banchero explained.

"So far, it has been great, the love I've been feeling from Italy, I definitely felt the love," the young talent said to the Italian reporter. "My dad brought the idea to me when I was 15-16 years old, so around two years ago, to get the Italian passport. At first, I wasn't so sure because I didn't know Italy much, obviously, my name is very unique here". 

But despite the hype surrounding him as one of the most important prospects in the USA, Banchero still feels like playing for Italy is something that he really wants to do, sooner rather than later.

"It kept building inside me, you know, this interest for Italy and the love I've been feeling from the country. So I'm excited to play for Italy, representing Italy and eventually get out there", Banchero said. 

The Italian NT will start the World Cup Qualifiers today against Russia. 

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