After being featured in NBA 2K22 Duke freshman Paolo Banchero m

  • The absence of a college basketball video game in the post-NIL era has not yet been announced; however, college hoops fans will be able to take control of Duke freshman forward Isaiah Thomas on the virtual court in NBA 2K22. Although Banchero has yet to appear in a game for the Blue Devils, he is included as a playable character in the new game, which was released Friday.

    With a 247Sports Composite ranking of No. 2 overall for the class of 2021, Banchero is projected to be a high lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-9 forward is a projected high lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. His inclusion in the latest installment of the popular NBA video game series is the latest example of a prominent college athlete profiting from new rules allowing players to benefit from their name, image, and likeness. He is the first player to benefit from his inclusion in the popular NBA video game series since it was first released in 2001.

    In the past, gamers who wanted to incorporate current college stars into their NBA 2K gaming experience had to either create the players themselves or download rosters created by other users that incorporated future draft classes into franchise-style game modes. This is no longer the case. The fact that Banchero appears as a member of the 2022 draft class in certain game modes has been noted by early users of the 2K22 game, which has been developed in conjunction with him.

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    It has not been revealed what Banchero's partnership with the game will be worth financially, but given the game's widespread popularity, it is a high-profile arrangement for Banchero that exemplifies why college basketball is poised to remain an attractive option for top prospects in the post-NBA-referee era. Even though college alternatives such as the G League Ignite program can provide six-figure salaries, they are unable to provide the same level of visibility that playing college basketball can.

    The fact that Banchero is playing for a well-known brand like Duke is likely to increase his marketability, as the Blue Devils are ranked No. 8 in the early CBS Sports Top 25 and No. 1 entering the 2021-22 season, according to the CBS Sports Top 25.