Duke freshman and potential No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA draft Paolo Banchero answered questions he was able to about the incident that led to the arrest of his teammate Michael Savarino on DWI charges.
Here is Paolo Banchero addressing last week’s incident for the first time. pic.twitter.com/4SId05TAbC
— Josh Graham (@JoshGrahamRadio) November 23, 2021
“You can’t really say much about it, but we learned from it and handled it as a team. We moved on and we want to get on with our season.”
As this is an open case with upcoming court dates Banchero couldn’t say much. He left it to generic points about learning and moving on, preferring to focus on basketball.
“I’m not going to say it wasn’t on my mind the past two games. It was. I feel like today was a bounce-back game for me and I felt good out there.”
Savarino, who is Coach K’s grandson, was pulled over after a stop sign violation. When a subsequent breathalyzer test was administered, he showed a blood alcohol content of 0.08. In North Carolina it’s illegal to drive a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. Savarino’s license was revoked for 30 days, and he was taken into custody without incident.
Banchero, who was a passenger in the back seat at the time of the arrest and charged with aiding and abetting a DWI.
Savarino has been away from the team since the incident, while Banchero hasn’t missed any action.
When asked if he regretted the situation, Banchero shook his head and said, “nah”.
“My teammates had my back, so it wasn’t too hard for me.”
Duke is currently ranked fifth in the nation and are 6-0. They travel to Las Vegas to play No. 1 Gonzaga on Friday, Nov. 26, and then head to Columbus to play Ohio State, ranked No. 19, as part of the ACC vs. Big Ten Challenge.
Given the high profile of the university the two players are associated with and the fact that there was no accident, injuries, or fatalities, it’s highly unlikely anything more comes of this.
Savarino’s court date is set for Dec. 9, and Banchero’s is Dec. 8.
Until then it’s business as usual on the court for the Blue Devils, in Coach K’s swan song. No doubt he’s used this incident as an opportunity to close the ranks and bring the team closer together.
“Us against the world”, “nobody but your brothers,” and all the usual sports clichés were likely thrown around inside team meetings, sessions and practices. Of course, this was an incident of one of their own making, but that’s neither here nor there.
It’s part of the theater of sports and it’s effective.
Coach K has been doing this for a very long time and is a master motivator, and with all the years under his belt probably fancies himself a good human psychologist. He will know how to use this to get the response he needs from his team this season.
Maybe, they will ride this all the way to the Final Four and one last title for K.
There’s a long way to go before we get there, including court dates. But don’t be surprised if that familiar-looking man and that team in blue are cutting down the nets in April.
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