Banchero needed an IV in the second half but still managed to score 22 points in his debut as Duke defeated Kentucky.
Trevor Keels produced a team-high 25 points, Paolo Banchero battled through cramping issues but still managed to score 22 points on Tuesday to lead the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils to a win over the 10th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.
Banchero left the contest briefly in the second half to receive treatment, and was among four Blue Devils players to deal with cramps. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Banchero, along with Wendell Moore Jr., received IVs inside of the locker room.
The cramping, Banchero said, was the first of its kind.
I’ve never cramped that early in a game. I have cramped before. It’s not really a problem for me. I gotta figure out why that was. I thought I was pretty hydrated. It wasn’t fun but it is what it is. You gotta adjust and Trev and the rest of the team stepped up and we were able to pull it out.
The first look at Banchero with the Blue Devils only further ignited the immense hype surrounding him. He showed precisely why he is considered to be a potential No. 1 overall pick next year in the NBA draft, and dazzled during his time on the court.
Banchero connected on 7-of-11 shot attempts from the field, going 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. He had his mid-range shot working, often creating space with his patented jab-step move, while he was also able to finish strong at the rim.
The effort was further highlighted in a primetime win over Kentucky.
Seeing that clock hit zero with us with more points than them was a relief. We wanted to get this win, especially for Coach in the first game. It was a big game for us coming in. We felt like we had a chance to make a statement with this game and come out and play well.
While Banchero put up a strong effort in his debut, Keels stole the show after emerging as the leading shot-creator for the Blue Devils throughout the game. He is considered to be a mid-to-late first-round pick next year but could improve that stock with more performances like on Tuesday.
His 25 points were tied for the third-most in a debut under Coach K.
With Banchero and Keels leading the way this season, along with A.J. Griffin and Mark Williams, Duke will likely be one of the top teams in the country this season. They certainly showed just how powerful they can be against the Wildcats.
This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!
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