WILDCATS’ FORWARD ANTHONY DAVIS WAS PICKED 1ST IN THE DRAFT
Mon, 02 Jul 2012 11:44 PM EDT
The Wildcats became the 1st college to have the top 2 picks and tied a record with 6 players taken.
After the Hornets made the long-expected selection of forward Anthony Davis with the first pick, Charlotte Bobcats followed by taking fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Las Vegas odds
“It’s crazy,” Davis said. “Michael is a great player. We have 2 down and 4 more to go. Hopefully, every one of them will go in the 1st round.”
They didn’t, the only displeasure for the Wildcats. They settled on 4 in the 1st round and a tie with North Carolina, which won the race to 4 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, beginning with a hug between Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist after the 1st selection.
Kentucky got its 4th first-round pick at No. 29 with Marquis Teague, another freshman, who is headed to Chicago as a possible replacement for the wounded Derrick Rose. Doron Lamb went 42nd to Milwaukee and Darius Miller was 46th to New Orleans.
Davis will begin his pro career in the same town where he ended it with a national title. College basketball’s player of the year as a freshman was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four despite shooting just 1 of 10 from the field in the championship game, grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking 6 shots in the victory over Kansas.
The 6-foot-10 Davis averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks, becoming a dominant defender after growing 7 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 center-piece, since playing for the Wildcats means he’s already used to plenty of attention.
“Like I announced, at Kentucky we had it all of the time, especially the 6 who played, we had the attention all the time,” Davis said. “I think it really prepared me.”
The Hornets drafted Duke guard Austin Rivers with the 10th overall pick, giving New Orleans a young inside-outside couple to pair with guard Eric Gordon.
Charlotte, coming off a 7-59 season and the worst winning percentage in NBA history, had been open to moving the No. 2 pick if it found the right deal. As an alternative Michael Jordan’s team went with Kidd-Gilchrist, whose selection by the Bobcats was loudly cheered, a sharp contrast from the boos Stern received when coming out to announce the picks.
Thomas Robinson of Kansas, who was hoping to go 2nd, dropped to Sacramento at No. 5. Portland took Weber State’s Damian Lillard at No. Six with its 1st of 2 lotto picks, and Barnes was taken 7th by Golden State.
After Washington’s Terrence Ross went to Toronto and Connecticut’s Andre Drummond to Detroit.
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 anticipated, while Robinson fell to the Kings.
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