Credit: AFP-Scanpix
Credit AFP-Scanpix

The top 2022 NBA draft prospect Paolo Banchero faces an unusual issue. Concerns over his physical fitness have emerged as the Duke University Blue Devils forward has suffered from serious cramps during two important games against Kentucky and Gonzaga.

According to ESPN reports, a test was performed on Banchero, which revealed that the Duke superstar loses about 7 pounds (~3.1 kg) per game due to sweating. Per head coach Mike Krzyzewski, he has also gone back to the locker room and required an IV to help alleviate the problem. 

The Duke sports medicine department is having him drink an oxygenated fluid called BOA that should help him avoid leaving the floor with cramps as often as he has had to thus far.

BOA's official website states that the drink replenishes sodium, which can help athletes hydrate up to ten times faster.

The Athletic's Brendan Marks reports that this hadn't been an issue for Banchero before joining Duke. However, the growing frequency of issues is something that should be monitored going forward.

Travelle Gaines, a prominent athletic trainer who has worked with the likes of Jimmy Butler and Draymond Green, isn't concerned about what this suggests about the player's conditioning.

"Not at all, he will get it figured out," Gaines told USA TODAY when asked if he had any concerns. "He is the best player in the draft with a great support system."

Looking at other sports, it is not unusual for athletes to sweat off several pounds during a competitive game. According to an article in Scientific American from 2010 by Chris Fischetti, an American football running back might lose three to four pounds during a game.

Considering there's much less cardio and much more opportunity to sit on the bench and rehydrate during a football game, someone Banchero's size (208 cm, 113 kg) sweating out seven pounds doesn't seem like an outlier.

The NBA mock draft community seems to agree with the athletic trainer's assessment. The latest ESPN mock draft sees Banchero as a no. 2 pick with a projection to even go no. 1, noting the forward's power, agility, and ball skills as the main driving force behind his play.

Banchero has played in all 8 Duke's matches, averaging 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game on 50% shooting.

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