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- Mark Stoops on John Calipari: “I love being around him”
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands that hiring Vince Marrow was a home run for Kentucky
- Video: Larry hears cowbells, makes a chocolate cow and soaks up the culture in Switzerland
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about recruiting the home state of Kentucky
- What role did Drew Barker’s mother play in his athletic development?
- Calipari will be keynote speaker at Iba Awards June 3 in Tulsa
- D.J. Eliot understands coach Mark Stoops “very well” can bring new ideas to UK defense
- Swiss Cat Part 2: Larry continues his adventure in Switzerland
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers began their first full day as pros together on Hornets owner Tom Benson’s private plane. They flew from New Jersey to New Orleans, where the two 19-year-olds will be expected to ignite the turnaround of an NBA franchise before they’re even old enough to participate fully in the Big Easy’s renowned night life.
They aren’t giving themselves much time to party anyway. Their plan is to remain in New Orleans and work out together at the Hornets’ training center until Davis, the top pick in Thursday night’s draft, has to leave for Team USA tryouts on July 5. If there’s time, they might even find places to live. Rivers will get ready for Las Vegas summer league later in the month.
Davis, who has dealt with the pre-draft hype that goes with being the consensus No. 1 pick, seemed relieved that chapter of his life was over, and that he could start focusing on getting ready to compete against the best basketball players in the world.
“I just wanted to get everything out of the way, step on the court and not have to worry about anything else,” Davis said Friday after his formal introduction and photo op at the New Orleans Arena.
Davis, who stands nearly 6-foot-11 and, as Benson noted with a smile, might still be growing, has been working on adding bulk with a trainer in California. The former Kentucky star affectionately nicknamed “the unibrow” said he now weighs 230 pounds, and lists his training goals as getting bigger, improving his conditioning and refining the skills he’ll need to become a premier NBA big man.
“Guys do this for a living and now I’ve got the opportunity to do it as well, so I’ve got to make sure I’m ready,” Davis said.
Shortly after the pair arrived in New Orleans, they made their first community appearance at Hornets forward Jason Smith’s basketball camp. Davis’ parents, Anthony Sr. and Eranier made the trip, as did Rivers’ mother, Kris, and his sister, Callie.
Hornets coach Monty Williams and general manager Dell Demps said that when New Orleans wound up with the first and 10th overall picks in the draft lottery, they knew they would take Davis first and wanted Rivers at No. 10. They have stressed, however, that they do not want to put too much pressure on the teenage rookies to vault the Hornets up the standings right away.
“I think coach does a great job taking pressure off of guys,” said Davis, who joins a team that went 21-45 last season.
Davis said he hopes trying out and possibly playing for Team USA at the London Games accelerates his development.
“Playing with the superstars in this league — it’ll be a great opportunity for me,” Davis said. “They’ll show me the ropes, show me things I’ve never seen before. … I just can’t wait to learn from them.”
When Davis returns to New Orleans, he’ll have a chance to continue playing with his former Kentucky teammate, small forward Darius Miller, who was picked by New Orleans in the second round, 46th overall.
“I was ecstatic. He’s a great player,” Davis said of Miller, whom he was close with at Kentucky. “It’s fun playing with him and I think he can really help this organization.”
By ASHLEY SCOBY
In terms of pure athleticism and potential for development, I might be most excited to watch Langston Newton, out of all of UK’s football signees. The guy is an absolute monster with a 30” vertical jump and a 4.6 40-yard-dash time – at 6’5, 240 pounds. It’s pretty rare that you get a guy who played defensive tackle in high school to put forth those kinds of numbers.
But Newton is nothing if not athletic – he’s a state champ in discus and shot put and had one heck of a football career to boot. (His highlight video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ij6tZbcxuE).
Not only is Newton a stud athletically, but he also has those clichéd “intangibles” that we love to talk about. In high school, he was part of a focus group at Carmel (Indiana) where he would go out and talk to kids in the community, promote the high school to the youth, etc. By all accounts, he’s a well-spoken, intelligent guy who has a burning desire to compete and to win. What else would you ask for out of a kid playing football at UK?
Langston is Morgan Newton’s brother, and I think it will be important for the younger of the two to make a name for himself outside of his brother’s. In most articles you find about Langston’s high school football career, the writer mentions Morgan’s Mr. Football award in the state of Indiana. What that has to do with Langston, I will never know, but the comparison to his brother (although the two play positions that are polar opposites) is hard to avoid.
Obviously, there’s a very close relationship between the two, but it’s important that Langston makes his own football reputation outside of his relation to Morgan. Fighting to be known outside of his brother’s shadow (at least in the state of Indiana) is what will put Langston ahead of the average 6’5, 240-pound defensive tackle.
Langston, with his speed and his ability in high school to get to the quarterback (and clobber the quarterback), will most likely play defensive end at UK instead of the tackle position he’s used to. There will be some obvious adjustments to be made in his playing style if he’s learning a new position, but I expect great things out of Langston. Currently, guys like Collins Ukwu, Farrington Huguenin and Mike Douglas are ahead of him on the depth chart, but a redshirt year wouldn’t hurt Langston by any means. Like I said, he’ll most likely be splitting time between track and football this year, so he’ll have to get used to the rigors of being that kind of an athlete, in addition to learning how to compete against SEC-level talent.
Keep your eyes on this kid in the future. One day, he has the potential to be an absolute monster on the field.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Bobcats have a new coach, a new color scheme and three new players.
Michael Jordan’s Bobcats Friday introduced rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out of Kentucky and Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor along with trade acquisition Ben Gordon during press conference at their arena, three players the team hopes will help turn things around on the court. They hired Mike Dunlap as head coach a week ago and changed their uniform colors and logo. The Bobcats are coming off a 7-59 season, the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106), but are eager to put all of that behind them.
“There’s no question about it,” Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said. “It’s a special time in our franchise, our city and our community. It’s a different time for us and as a franchise we’re looking forward to the future and not what’s in the past.”
Kidd-Gilchrist, selected No. 2 overall in the draft, is expected to be a big part of that future.
“I just want to win basketball games,” Kidd-Gilchrist, who lost just two games last season while helping the Wildcats to a national championship. “The past is the past around here.”
Added Taylor: “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
Kidd-Gilchrist and Taylor both play small forward, although they have different strengths.
Taylor is a better shooter, while Kidd-Gilchrist is known as a very solid defender who can cover any position on the floor and also is effective in transition, which should bode well for playing in Dunlap’s up-tempo offense. Kidd-Gilchrist comes into the NBA as the youngest player in the league at a ripe age of 18.
“He’s just a kid,” said his mother Cynthia Richardson. “In reality, he should be going into his senior year of high school.”
But Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t lack for focus and said he relishes the task ahead.
“This is my job now so I have to go do it,” said Kidd-Gilchrist, who averaged 11.9 points per game in his only season at Kentucky before declaring himself eligible for the draft.
Kidd-Gilchrist comes to area of the country known largely for a lighter shade of blue than he wore in college — Tar Heel blue, which was worn by Jordan when he played at North Carolina. Kidd-Gilchrist said he didn’t know much about the Tar Heels, but drew laughs from crowed when he said, “I won a national championship, that’s all I know.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
In the last three years, John Calipari has done everything he promised he would when he became the head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky.
He’s made the Wildcats a factor in the national championship race. Kentucky reached the Elite Eight in 2010, advanced to the Final Four in 2011 and won the national title in 2012.
He’s brought he best available talent to Kentucky. The Wildcats had five players, including four freshmen, picked in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft. He had two more first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2011. Thursday he had four more players, including Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist going one-two, selected in the first round and two in the second round.
“How much more does Calipari had to do to show the world how well he prepares young players to make the transition to the NBA at an early age,” said Dick “Hoops” Weiss of the New York Daily News as the draft unfolded. “The numbers speak for themselves.
“Four picks in the first round and two more in the second round. If you were a kid looking to be a one-and-done (player), where else would you go.”
It’s a question rival recruiters are going to have to answer because Calipari has a fourth straight No. 1 recruiting class on campus that includes Nerlens Noel, the top-ranked player in the class, and two more McDonald’s All-Americans in Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin.
But with Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist going one-two in the draft — something that teammates had never done before — it could position Calipari and Kentucky for an even bigger recruiting haul in 2013 and 2014 where most of the top-ranked recruits already have UK on their college list.
Why wouldn’t they want to play for UK and Calipari?
In the last three years, Calipari’s 11 first-round draft picks — UK had only 13 first-round picks from 1985 through 2009 and only three in the decade before Calipari’s arrival — will have combined to make around $65 million in the last three years. Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Terrence Jones will get contracts worth around $12 million without endorsements for going in the first-round Thursday. Those kind of numbers are hard for recruits, and their parents, to ignore.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that no coach had reached double figures in players drafted in a three-year period until Calipari kicked that door down by having the 15 in three years.
Gene Frenette, a columnist for jacksonville.com, wrote that Thursday’s draft “was a crowing achievement for what many feared: College basketball is now John Calipari’s kingdom until he leaves or is forced out.”
The NCAA has tried to find transgressions under Calipari but has been unable to find him guilty of any wrongdoing even though both Massachusetts and Memphis had to vacate Final Four appearances under him. Frenette, a media member on the outside looking in, doesn’t see Calipari leaving Kentucky any time soon.
Frenette wrote: “Calipari will never have a better hoops gig outside of Lexington. At the 2010 draft, Calipari took flak for saying that five first-round selections was ‘the biggest day in the history of Kentucky’s program. But no one can question him if he says it now. College basketball’s preeminent powerbroker has a national title and another knockout draft for UK as validation. For now, Calipari is king.”
He is. Three times in the last five years he’s had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, including twice at Kentucky (UK had never had a No. 1 pick until Calipari arrived). He’s had a point guard picked in five straight drafts and two or more players selected in five straight drafts.
Weiss thinks Calipari’s ways often are overlooked and/or underrated.
“Having the first two picks in the draft is an incredible tribute to two high character kids who bought into the Calipari philosophy from the start,” Weiss said. “Everyone knew about Davis and that he would go No. 1, but it was interesting to hear (Charlotte coach) Mike Dunlap saying Kidd-Gilchrist was their No. 2 all along.
“Davis was the best shot blocker in college basketball. Not saying he’s a young Bill Russell but he will make an impact as a freshman. Huge upside. Kidd-Gilchrist is a high energy player who will be instant starter, lockdown defender. They are both great players who Calipari helped progress just as he has with other guys. That’s what makes me wonder why one-and-done type players would really look anywhere else to play right now.”
— Coach John Calipari has had two or more players selected in FIVE consecutive NBA drafts dating back to 2008 with Memphis. He has three players who have been taken No. 1 overall. Following the 2012 draft, Calipari has had eight players taken in the top 10 of the draft in the last three seasons and 11 taken in the first round of the draft.
— Since 2000 only 15 coaches have had multiple players taken in the NBA Draft in more than one draft. Here’s a breakdown of coaches who have achieved the feat in multiple seasons since 2000. Calipari is the only coach to have multiple players selected in five consecutive drafts.
o Rick Barnes (2011, 2010 and 2006 with Texas)
o Jim Boeheim (2010, 2000 with Syracuse)
o Jim Calhoun (2009, 2006, 2004 and 2000 with Connecticut)
o John Calipari (2012, 2011, 2010 with Kentucky; 2009 and 2008 with Memphis)
o Jeff Capel (2010 and 2009 with Oklahoma)
o Billy Donovan (2011, 2007 and 2000 with Florida)
o Ben Howland (2011, 2009, 2008, 2006 with UCLA)
o Bob Huggins (2010 with WVU and 2000 with Cincinnati)
o Tom Izzo (2006, 2001 and 2000 with Michigan State)
o Mike Krzyzewski (2011, 2006, 2004, 2002 with Duke)
o Mike Montgomery (2001 and 2002 with Stanford and 2008 with California)
o Lute Olson (2001 and 2005 with Arizona)
o Bill Self (2011, 2008, 2003 with Kansas, 2002 with Illinois)
o Jerry Wainwright (2001 and 2007 with DePaul)
o Roy Williams (2010, 2009, 2007, 2005 with North Carolina)
— With Marquis Teague taken by Chicago in the opening round of the draft, Coach John Calipari has had point guards taken in the first round of the draft for five consecutive seasons (Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Brandon Knight and Teague).
— With eight first round picks in the opening round of the NBA Draft, it is a new record for the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky led the conference with four first-round picks.
— Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are the highest pair of teammates taken in the NBA draft in the history of the NBA Draft. UK has now set a record with the highest pair of teammates taken in a draft with three consecutive drafts consisting of teammates from Kentucky. No school had previously had consecutive drafts with the highest pair of teammates before UK achieved the feat in 2010 and 2011 since the inception of the two-round draft format began in 1992.
o 2012 – Anthony Davis (1st) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2nd) of Kentucky
o 2011 – Enes Kanter (3rd) and Brandon Knight (8th) of Kentucky
o 2010 – John Wall (1st) and DeMarcus Cousins (5th) of Kentucky
o 2009 – Tyler Hansbrough (13th) and Ty Lawson (18th) of North Carolina
o 2008 – Russell Westbrook (4th) and Kevin Love (5th) of UCLA
o 2007 – Al Horford (3rd), Corey Brewer (7th) and Joakim Noah (9th) of Florida
o 2006 – Shelden Williams (5th) and JJ Redick (11th) of Duke
o 2005 – Marvin Williams (2nd), Raymond Felton (5th), Sean May (13th) and Rashad McCants (14th) of North Carolina
o 2004 – Emeka Okaford (2nd) and Ben Gorden (3rd) of Connecticut
o 2003 – Kirk Hinrich (7th) and Nick Collison (12th) of Kansas
o 2002 – Jay Williams (2nd) and Mike Dunleavy (3rd) of Duke
o 2001 – Jason Richardson (5th) and Zach Randolph (19th) of Michigan State
o 2000 – Kenyon Martin (1st) and DerMarr Johnson (6th) of Cincinnati
o 1999 – Elton Brand (1st), Trajan Langdon (11th), Corey Maggette (13th) and William Avery (14th) of Duke
o 1998 – Antwan Jamison (4th) and Vince Carter (5th) of North Carolina
o 1997 – Ron Mercer (6th) and Derek Anderson (13th) of Kentucky
o 1996 – Allen Iverson (1st) and Jerome Williams (26th) of Georgetown
o 1995 – Jerry Stackhouse (2nd) and Rasheed Wallance (3rd) of North Carolina
o 1994 – Jason Kidd (2nd) and Lamond Murray (7th) of California
o 1993 – Calbert Cheaney (6th) and Greg Graham (17th) of Indiana
o 1992 – Robert Horry (11th) and Latrell Sprewell (24th) of Alabama
o 1991 – Larry Johnson (1st), Stacey Augmon (9th) and Greg Anthony (12th) of UNLV
o 1990 – Rumeal Robinson (10th), Loy Vaught (13th) and Terry Mills (16th) of Michigan
o 1989 – Pervis Ellison (1st) and Kenny Payne (19th) of Louisville
Vaught’s note: Scott Suder is a huge University of Kentucky basketball fan and during UK’s post-championship celebration he’s taken his young daughter, Sydney, to meet a number of the Cats. Now he’s even introduced her to the Untouchables, UK’s 1996 championship team. Enjoy his post and pictures of his lovely daughter with the Cats.
By SCOTT SUDER
Sydney Suder, one of UK’s littlest fans, had the opportunity to meet with six of the former players of the 1996 “The Untouchables” men’s basketball team. Walter McCarty held our seven month old and sang to her. Tony Delk talked about his own children as he took a picture with Sydney. She was passed down the line to Ron Mercer, Anthony Epps, Antoine Walker, and Derek Anderson. She was on the front page of the sports section of the Herald Leader the next morning and on Kentucky.com.
Sydney has been fortunate to have pictures taken with Darius Miller and Anthony Davis. I am a huge UK fan and attend most autograph sessions whenever possible. Sydney’s mother, Tigre Suder, loves pictures and feels Sydney will appreciate them when she gets older. Autographs are keepsakes and may be worth money, but a picture is a memory frozen in time.
The goal is to make a UK book for Sydney of all of her pictures with the players she meets. We hope to share our love for basketball and UK with Sydney. Dad can’t wait until she is old enough to start attending the basketball camps, and maybe one day play for UK.
Vaught’s note: Laura McDonald is a Kentucky fan who lives and works in New York. She watched Kentucky win the national championship in New Orleans in April and Thursday was in Newark, N.J., for the NBA draft.
By LAURA MCDONALD
Thursday night I had the opportunity to attend my very first NBA Draft. Not only was it an exciting night where Big Blue history was made, but it was an opportunity to see young men realize their dreams. It was moving to see the emotions from the players and their families as one-by-one their names were called and they were given the new city that they would call home.
When they walked across that stage we also had a chance to see what type of fashion sense these young men have. It is a big decision as to what a future millionaire should wear on the night when he receives a new job offer. The theme for the up-and-comers seemed to feature three-piece suits and checkered shirts. There was not any crazy colored pants or those outrageous glasses that some players wear. It was a night where the dominant suit color was gray with a splash of color in the pocket-square or shirt.
However, I would not be called the ProfessionalH8er if I did not break down the best and worst dressed players of the night. Let’s start with the worst of course … that honor goes to Damian Lillard from Weber State. It is one of my pet peeves when men do not wear the same color suit jacket and slacks. He gets a little credit for the black accents on his jacket, but come on, all the rest of them managed to match their suit why couldn’t he? Honorable mention goes to Meyers Leonard from Illinois. I really did not care for his overall look. I know you are tall with a long torso, but come on son, your tie needed a couple more inches like your vertical at the combine.
Best-dressed goes to Terrence Jones’s former high school teammate Terrence Ross. He wore a tan suit with a blue-checkered shirt and a green bow tie. He was the only one to sport the bow tie, but I thought he brought it with his look! Honorable mention in this category goes to our guy MKG as he looked rather dapper in his dark suit with the blue tie. I loved the brown shoes he paired with it as well.
Kentucky and North Carolina were compared throughout the night as the two schools combined to have 10 players drafted. In the fashion category, the contest was tight. The big men represented their schools well in the bling category as Davis sported square diamond earrings, and the diamond-encrusted face on John Henson’s watch could been from any section of the Prudential Center.
At the end of the night, I had to give Kentucky the slight edge once again. Poor North Carolina, they lost by one point to Kentucky in the regular season, they were one win away from the Final Four, and now they lose the fashion battle to Kentucky because Harrison Barnes literally came up short in the pants category. We should not be getting a glimpse into the sock category when you walk around on draft night!
By LARRY VAUGHT
He broke his left ankle in a preseason game last year against Pittsburgh and missed the entire season, but the Carolina Panthers still signed offensive tackle Garry Williams to a two-year contract last November. Williams, who was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Kentucky in 2009, played in seven games his first season — primarily on special teams — but played in all 16 games in 2010. He started the final 11 games at right tackle after Geoff Schwartz moved to right guard and helped the Panthers rush for 100 or more yards in eight of the last nine games with a season-high 212 yards versus Atlanta.
Williams, a Louisville native, played in 45 games at UK and started 39. He was a second-team all-Southeastern Conference pick in 2008 and allowed only one sack in 428 pass plays that season. He was also a second-team all-SEC pick in 2007 when UK set a school single-season record for most points scored with 475.
He came back to Lexington last week to help at the C.H.A.M.P. Camp put on by former UK player Champ Kelly, now the assistant director of pro personnel for the Denver Broncos. Williams said his ankle is healed and he’ll be fine when the Panthers open play and hopes to be in the starting lineup.
Question: Do you ever think back to how far your career as come from the time you got to UK as a player even a little unsure about your own future to being on a NFL roster?
Williams: “I am proud of myself. I set a goal and still going for it. I am not there yet and won’t be until I retire. I set goals and just keep working hard daily. Coming off my ankle injury, I made sure my ankle would be 100 percent when we started OTAs (organized team activities) and that’s what I did.”
Question: When did it click in for you that not only playing in the NFL was possible, but that you could do well at that level?
Williams: “When I got there, I knew I was a hard worker and I knew the NFL looked for guys that worked hard. I was going to give them everything I had and I just knew they would look at me and I continue to show them that I am a hard worker and that I am here for the team and would do anything for the team.”
Question: Is there a particular special memory you have of your years at Kentucky?
Williams: “That would be beating LSU (in 2007 when LSU won the national championship). That was the most special thing, but it was special just being with the guys. I got some great friendships attending Kentucky and I continue to talk to some of them. There was just a special bond a lot of us developed at Kentucky.”
Question: Was the success your team had at Kentucky due to talent, coaching or players bringing out that talent in each other?
Williams: “We brought it out in each other and worked together. That is what (UK head coach) Joker (Phillips) is working on now. He is a new head coach and is still doing a great job. He is telling guys what we did when we were there and he is breaking it down to see what he has to do with these guys now and instilling in them what it takes to win. That’s what he has to do. The program is at a turning point right now with new guys and he just has to instill certain things in them and they have to learn and listen to what he has to say because he is a good coach.”
Question: How much did the quality and quantity of in-state talent (Andre Woodson, Keenan Burton, Jacob Tamme, Corey Peters, etc.) lead to UK’s success during your time at Kentucky?
Williams: “We did have a lot of in-state talent. With me being out in Carolina, I really have not kept up as much with the in-state talent now at UK, but when we were playing we had a lot of in-state talent. I played with some great guys. I just hope we can continue that at Kentucky.”
Question: Is it any surprise to you that Tamme has done as well in the NFL as he has and just recently signed a lucrative free agent contract with Denver?
Williams: “It doesn’t surprise me at all. That guy, what he did in college was what he did in high school. For him to do it in the NFL, that doesn’t surprise me at all and shouldn’t surprise anybody. Same way with Corey Peters. All the guys doing what they are doing now is not a big surprise. They worked hard and they kept fighting. That’s why they are having the success they are now.”
Question: Once you get to the NFL, do you stay friends with all your former teammates or do new competitive rivalries prevent that?
Williams: “No, nothing changes. We still talk. When we play each other, we make jokes and things like that. But nothing has really changed.”
Question: What do you like to do now when you get a chance to make it back to Kentucky?
Williams: “Rest. I don’t do much. I go visit people and stuff like that, but I don’t do a lot of stuff.”
Question: What’s going on with that full beard now that you never had at Kentucky?
Williams: “I have had this a while. I cut it about a year ago and then started growing it again. I don’t think I will cut it again.”
Question: How good are things with you right now with Carolina since you signed that new contract back in November?
Williams: “Everything is going well. Guys on our team have their head on straight and are working hard. We are looking forward to having a big season. Last year we made big strides, but we want that Super Bowl ring. It’s a big step up but we have the talent and we have the coaches and the mental mindset to do it.”
Question: How good is quarterback Cam Newton?
Williams: “He is an excellent guy. Not taking away any other quarterback, but he is a special guy. I saw him play in college (at Auburn). He tore it up. He has lived up to his expectations and we just hope he keeps rising.”
Question: Do you miss Rich Brooks, your head coach at Kentucky?
Williams: “I do miss coach Brooks. He was a great coach and still is. Even though he is retired, he is still a great guy. You cannot forget coach Brooks ever.”
— Following the 2012 NBA Draft, Kentucky has had 106 guys drafted 108 times (Johnny Cox ’58 and Roger Newman ’60 both drafted in Jr. eligible draft, but returned for senior year and were drafted again).
— Anthony Davis (No. 1) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2) are the first teammates to be taken No. 1 and 2 in the history of the NBA Draft.
— As of 2012, UK has had 31 players selected in the opening round (11 have come in the last three years) of the draft.
— Following the 2012 draft, UK has had 15 players selected in the draft over the last three years.
— The Wildcats set a new single-draft high for Kentucky players drafted in a single year. The 2010 draft had five UK players selected, and the 1984 draft also had five Wildcats.
— The only other school in draft history to have six players selected in one draft was UNLV in the 1977 10-round draft. Since the draft went to a two-round format in 1989, there have been four schools (Connecticut-2006), Florida (2007), Kansas (2008) and Kentucky (2010) with five players selected in the same draft. Kentucky is the first school to post five or more picks in more than one draft class.
— It would mark the first time in the history of the program four or more Kentucky players have been selected in three consecutive seasons.
— With Anthony Davis selected as the No. 1 pick, Kentucky is the only school since the 2000 draft to have two No. 1 picks (John Wall – 2010).
— With Davis going No. 1 overall, John Calipari will have coached three No. 1 picks in the last five years. And his three No. 1 picks are the most by one coach in NBA Draft history.
— Anthony Davis became the second No. 1 overall pick in school history. John Wall became the first Wildcat selected first overall in 2010. Davis was the third SEC player taken No. 1 overall which includes Shaquille O’Neal of LSU in 1992.
— Following the 2012 draft, Kentucky has had six players selected in the top 10, seven in the top 15 and 11 in the first round of the draft in the last three years.
— Kentucky has had four pairs of teammates taken in the top 10 of the draft in the same year: (Sam Bowie – 2nd, Melvin Turpin 6th in 1984; John Wall – 1st and DeMarcus Cousins 5th in 2010; Enes Kanter – 3rd and Brandon Knight 8th in 2011; Anthony Davis – 1st and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 2nd).
— In 2010 Kentucky became the 12th school with a No. 1 overall draft pick in both basketball and football as John Wall (2010 – men’s basketball) and Tim Couch (football – 1999) were UK’s picks. With Anthony Davis going No. 1 overall, Kentucky now becomes one of just six schools with three or more No. 1 overall draft picks in football and basketball. UK joins Ohio State, Oklahoma, Utah, Michigan and UCLA as the others to achieve the feat.
— Kentucky became one of 15 schools with multiple No. 1 overall picks in the NBA draft joining: Cincinnati (Oscar Robertson – 1960 and Kenyon Martin – 2000), Duke (Art Heyman – 1963, Elton Brand – 1999 and Kyrie Irving – 2011), Duquesne (Dick Ricketts – 1955 and Sihugo Green – 1956), Georgetown (Patrick Ewing – 1985 and Allen Iverson – 1996), Houston (Elvin Hayes -1968 and Akeem Olajuwon – 1984) , Indiana (Walt Bellamy – 1961 and Kent Benson – 1977), Kansas State (Howie Shannon – 1949 and Bob Boozer – 1959), Kentucky (John Wall – 2010 and Anthony Davis – 2012), Maryland (John Lucas – 1976 and Joe Smith – 1995), Michigan (Cazzie Russell – 1966 and Chris Webber – 1993), North Carolina (James Worthy – 1982 and Brad Daugherty – 1986) Purdue (Joe Barry Carroll – 1980 and Glenn Robinson – 1994), UCLA (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 1969 and Bill Walton – 1974), Utah (Bill McGill – 1962 and Andrew Bogut – 2005 and West Virginia (Mark Workman – 1952 and Rod Hundley – 1957).
— With Davis earning the No. 1 overall pick, Kentucky’s two-year gap between No. 1 overall draft selections from one school is second only to Duquesne which had No. 1 overall selections in back-to-back years in 1955 and 1956.
— UK is one of 43 different universities to have a player selected No. 1 overall in the history of the draft.
— With multiple picks in its third consecutive NBA draft, Kentucky joins two other schools in having two-or more players selected in three consecutive drafts since 1992. Calipari is one of only two coaches to have three consecutive NBA drafts be coupled with multiple players from his school since 1992 joining Mike Krzyzewski from Duke.
o Kentucky – 2012, 2011, 2010
o Memphis – 2010, 2009, 2008
o Duke – 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992
By LARRY VAUGHT
They were nearly inseparable at Kentucky and often were each others biggest cheerleaders. Perhaps that’s why it was only fitting that Kentucky stars Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were inseparable at Thursday’s NBA draft as well.
For the first time ever, two players from the same school went one-two in what could be called the Cat Draft. This came two years after UK had five players picked in the first round of the draft — UK had two more first-round picks (Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague) — in this draft and with the way Calipari recruits no one would be foolish enough to predict that Kentucky could not have the top two picks again in the future.
Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist were both, special unique players. Davis blocked shots better than anyone I have ever seen. Kidd-Gilchrist played harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. Both cared as much about winning as any two super talented players as I have ever seen. If the team won, they were always happy. If the team lost, which happened only twice, they were never going to be happy.
They were both great with fans and the media. They bought fully into the UK basketball tradition even though Davis was from Chicago and Kidd-Gilchrist from Philadelphia.
They also both did something that seems impossible. They came to Kentucky with huge expectations — and exceeded them. They led Kentucky to a national championship with their talented, team-oriented play and both had a knack for making game-winning plays. And that could be a blocked shot, steal, rebound or pass as well as a field goal.
It was a certainty that Davis was going to be the first pick. Every draft analyst had him No. 1 and called him the class of the draft. He tried to downplay being a lock for No. 1 for weeks, but when his name was called he hugged his mom and dad as expected. He also had a hug for Kidd-Gilchrist. It was a scenario he could have been envisioning.
But Kidd-Gilchrist? He looked absolutely stunned when Charlotte took him with the second overall pick. For the last two weeks critics had been pushing Kidd-Gilchrist down the draft board to perhaps five, six or seven. His lack of a proven outside shot was being questioned by everyone. Yet when Charlotte’s Michael Jordan had to make the call — and he knows a thing or two about basketball — he went with a proven winner in Kidd-Gilchrist.
Chris Dortch of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, who also writes a NBA column, could not have predicted a year ago that the two UK teammates would go one-two in the draft even though he had big expectations for both.
“I’d heard so much about them by that point. I thought they were both top five picks, but one-two is unprecedented,” said Dortch. “I was surprised because I’d heard Michael Jordan didn’t think Kidd-Gilchrist would be a star. My guess is Bobcats couldn’t get fair value to trade the pick. They had four power forwards. I never thought (Thomas) Robinson (of Kansas) made sense if they kept the pick.”
It is unprecedented to have players go one-two in the draft and even prompted Calipari to joke to media members at the draft in Newark, N.J., that perhaps the NBA should stop calling the spot it keeps the players attending the draft the green room and change it to the blue room.
Could Dortch see having the one-two picks in the draft make Calipari’s recruiting at Kentucky even better if that is even possible after four straight No. 1 recruiting classes that includes Nerlens Noel, the nation’s top-ranked prospect, in the incoming freshman class?
“It’ll give him more ammo, not that he needed it,” Dortch said.
After winning a national title in early April and having the first two picks in the late June draft, Calipari has all the ammo he needs.
Davis’ parents were humble and gracious as always when interviewed on ESPN after their son was picked. Kidd-Gilchrist’s mom, Cindy Richardson, was, too. .
“Always stay humble, do what the team asks you to do, keep the hard work going,” Anthony Davis Sr. said.
“Always be comfortable in your own skin, accept who he is in strengths and weaknesses, and keep it moving,” Cindy Richardson said of advice she would offer her son.
Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist did exactly what their parents advised at Kentucky and it was fun to watch and see. Now they’ll follow that same path to the NBA and there’s little doubt they’ll be just as successful. They were special on and off the court at UK and they will be in the NBA, too.