Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist top picks
Kentucky first program to provide top two picks of NBA draft
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Orleans Hornets selected Kentucky forward Anthony Davis with the No. 1 pick on Thursday, Charlotte followed by taking fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The Wildcats are the first school to have the top two picks, part of what they hoped would be perhaps five or even six players, selected in the first round. John Calipari has been criticized for recruiting ''one-and-done'' players -- they stay the required one year and leave -- but he looked thrilled hugging his two stars.
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''It's crazy,'' Davis said. ''Michael is a great player. We have two down and four more to go. Hopefully all of them will go in the first round.''
They didn't, the only disappointment for the Wildcats. They settled for four in the first round and a tie with North Carolina, which won the race to four picks -- all in the top 17 selections.
Harrison Barnes (No. 7, Golden State), Kendall Marshall (No. 13, Phoenix), John Henson (No. 14, Milwaukee) and Tyler Zeller (No. 17, Dallas) all went between Kidd-Gilchrist and the next Kentucky player, Terrence Jones at No. 18 to Houston.
Zeller's rights were later traded to Cleveland for a package that included No. 24 pick Jared Cunningham of Oregon State.
Otherwise, it was the Wildcats' night, starting with a hug between Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist after the first selection.
''My arm was shaking and my hands were sweaty. Got up and hugged Michael, my best friend, wanted to hug him for a minute,'' Davis said.
''When my name got called, wanted to make sure he stayed close.''
He did -- following Davis as the next player to climb onto the stage and shake Commissioner David Stern's hand.
Kentucky got its fourth first-round pick at No. 29 with Marquis Teague, another freshman, who is headed to Chicago as a possible replacement for the injured Derrick Rose. Doron Lamb went 42nd to Milwaukee and Darius Miller was 46th to New Orleans.
Only UNLV in 1977 had six players drafted - but none in the first round.
It's been a long time since a school made such an impact at the top of the draft.
UCLA had the Nos. 1 and 3 picks in 1969, when Milwaukee took Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- then Lew Alcindor -- and Lucius Allen went third to the Seattle SuperSonics.
Davis will begin his pro career in the same city where he ended his collegiate career with a national title. He was college basketball's player of the year as a freshman and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four despite shooting just 1 for 10 from the field in the championship game, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking six shots in the victory against Kansas.
|6||Port.||Damian Lillard||Weber St.||PG|
|13||Pho.||Kendall Marshall||N. Carolina||PG|
|14||Mil.||John Henson||N. Carolina||F|
|15||Phi.||Maurice Harkless||St. John's||SF|
|16||Hou.||Royce White||Iowa St.||SF|
|19||Orl.||Andrew Nicholson||St. Bonaventure||PF|
|20||Den.||Evan Fournier||Union Poitiers||SG|
|21||Bos.||Jared Sullinger||Ohio St.||F|
|24||Cle.||Jared Cunningham||Oregon St.||G|
|27||Mia.||Arnett Moultrie||Miss. St.||PF|
|28||OKC||Perry Jones III||Baylor||PF|
Davis has the agility of a guard -- as he played the position only a few years ago.
The 6-foot-10 Davis averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks, becoming a dominant defender after growing seven inches from the start of his junior year of high school.
A season after the Hornets traded longtime star Chris Paul, Davis is ready to be their centerpiece, since playing for the Wildcats means he's already accustomed to plenty of attention.
''Like I said, at Kentucky we had it all the time, especially the six who played, we had the spotlight all the time,'' Davis said. ''I think it really prepared me.''
Charlotte went with Kidd-Gilchrist, whose selection by the Bobcats was loudly cheered, a sharp contrast from the boos Commissioner David Stern received when coming out to announce the picks.
The new Charlotte swingman played in high school at nearby St. Patrick's in Elizabeth, N.J., and fans chanted ''MKG! MKG!'' as he walked off of the stage. Though he and Davis talked before the draft, they didn't discuss the history the Wildcats were about to make.
''No. I was shocked at first,'' Kidd-Gilchrist said. ''I was shocked. But no, we didn't. We didn't at all.''
Florida's Bradley Beal went third to Washington, making it three SEC freshman in the first three picks. Cleveland followed with the surprisingly early pick of Syracuse sixth man Dion Waiters at No. 4.
Thomas Robinson of Kansas, who hoped to go second, fell to Sacramento at No. 5. Portland took Weber State's Damian Lillard at No 6 with its first of two lottery picks, and North Carolina's Harrison Barnes was taken seventh by Golden State.
After Washington's Terrence Ross went to Toronto and Connecticut's Andre Drummond to Detroit, the Hornets rounded out the top 10 by taking Duke guard Austin Rivers with a pick they acquired in the Paul trade. Rivers hugged his father, Boston coach Doc Rivers, who came to be with his family instead of with the Celtics, who owned two later first-round picks.
Davis was the only clear-cut pick entering the draft, and there were some early surprises. Players such as Waiters and Ross went higher than expected, while Robinson dropped to the Kings.
''I really didn't know where I was going to end up at, but it is a bit of a surprise,'' Robinson said, tearing up when talking about his difficult journey that included the deaths of multiple family members in college. ''I didn't work out for Sacramento at all, I probably talked to them about once. But I'm here, so I'm meant to be here.''
Houston took Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb at No. 12 with its first of three top-20 picks.
The Rockets tabbed Iowa State's Royce White at No. 16 and Terrence Jones two picks later.
Jared Sullinger, once considered a top-10 pick, ended up in a draft free-fall over concerns with his back but was finally taken at No. 21 by Boston. The Celtics followed with Fab Melo of Syracuse, giving them two potential replacements if Kevin Garnett doesn't return.