“Somebody told me that they are going to start calling it the blue room instead of the green room.” – John Calipari
From the opening video montage, the night of the NBA draft, once again, belonged to Kentucky. Sure, other guys were drafted. North Carolina even had more than a handful of guys drafted as well. But for the first 30 minutes of the draft, John Calipari got a free Kentucky informercial. The coverage started with a clip of all 6 of Kentucky’s guys dancing, posing and joking around. And then ESPN cut to shots of Calipari chatting with Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the green room pre-draft. Calipari was shown giving advice to both of the guys, “Your name gets called. You hug Mom. You hug Dad and you hug me.” Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky and the draft hadn’t even officially started yet.
And then history was made. For the second time in 4 years, Calipari and Kentucky re-wrote the NBA Draft history books. In 2010 Kentucky broke the record for the most 1st round picks for one school with five. This evening, another record fell. Kentucky became the first school to have both the #1 and #2 draft pick in the same year. Kentucky also became the first school in the two round era to have six players drafted in one year. That also makes three #1 picks in the last 5 years for Calipari.
The fact was not lost on Calipari, who said: “I don’t know what else we can do for recruiting.” He said the only question now will be, “How did you beat us for a kid? I just told you 3 years ago, let’s make this the gold standard. Let’s make this where every kid in America is growing up saying ‘I want to play at Kentucky.'”
Someone please remind me, how does anyone not choose to play for Kentucky?
– And now for a rundown of Kentucky’s 2012 NBA Draft Class and where they all landed:
#1 Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets
Although the news became official tonight, Anthony Davis walked into this evening knowing exactly where he would hear his name called. The biggest worry Davis had this evening was which wrist to wear his boulder of a watch on. Davis immediately becomes the
unibrow (did that just cost me $25?) face of the franchise and the guy the Hornets will look to build around. And they started this evening with the #10 pick in the draft, adding Austin Rivers to the roster. We’ll try not to hold it against him that he’s a former Duke Blue Devil. He didn’t look that thrilled with that fact in March either. Just pass the rock, Austin, and you’ll do just fine next year. Ask Marquis Teague.
**This just in, another addition to the Anthony Davis show in New Orleans will be former teammate Darius Miller. More on that later…but Lexington just had a collective Hornets orgasm.
Davis: “I just wanna come in and do the best I can… be a team leader.” Anthony Davis’ parents were grinning ear to ear as they were interviewed following the pick. Davis’ Dad talked about reminding Anthony to “stay humble.”
#2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
In a pick that seemed more improbable throughout the week, Michael Jordan selected Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the #2 pick in the NBA Draft. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist looked absolutely shocked, a moment of pure jubilation and joy. News had begun to circulate that the Bobcats were going to take just about everyone but Kidd-Gilchrist, even though most analysts admitted that he was the second best prospect and a nearly impossible guy to pass on. Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap stated in an interview following the draft that Kidd-Gilchrist was the pick the whole time, even with the other rumors floating around. He seemed excited about MKG and spoke to his character as well as his defensive prowess and ability to finish in transition. According to Dunlap, he “fits the puzzle.” With the selection, Kentucky made a bit of history as the only school to ever have the #1 and #2 pick in the draft. The eruption from Kidd-Gilchrist’s large contingent of family members and friends, who made the short trip to join him, was one of the more touching moments of the whole draft. Kidd-Gilchrist spoke briefly about the challenge ahead of him with a bottom-dweller franchise: “I led this year. It’s going to be a challenge at first, but I’m ready to lead the team.”
Calipari feels like Kidd-Gilchrist can be a leader for the Bobcats as well: “He’ll figure it out, and he’ll drag them further than they should go. When you get used to losing, you accept it. He’ll never get used to it.”
#18 Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets
It took a little while, but Terrence Jones finally heard his name called by the Houston Rockets with the 18th pick. At least for the moment, Jones will join fellow former Wildcat Patrick Patterson. The Rockets had an interesting draft lot, opting for two forwards with their second and third selections of the first round, also selecting Royce White. It was hard to watch the picks continue to roll by before Jones, a player who chose to come back for a second year in what was a highly debated decision, was finally picked up by the Rockets. The good news for the Rockets is that they probably picked up a lottery-talent deeper in the draft. Hopefully Jones can start his NBA career with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, using this as motivation to prove some of those teams wrong who passed up on him for the John Henson’s (could not bench press Anthony Davis’ watch) of the world.
#29 Marquis Teague, Chicago Bulls
For a moment there, Marquis Teague’s first round draft status looked a little shaky. With only 2 picks remaining in the first round, the Bulls selected Teague, salvaging the stretch of first round point guards to play for Calipari since 2007. The Bulls are likely looking for a little insurance with Derrick Rose coming back from an ACL injury last season. Teague will have an opportunity to play early on, and assuming Rose makes a full recovery, perhaps fill an Eric Bledsoe-like back-up role. Teague made the 4th first round draft pick for Kentucky, tying North Carolina on ESPN’s scoreboard (lame).
Cue the banter about whether or not Teague should have stayed another year in college. The fact of the matter is, Teague has made it clear in multiple statements that he was not tempted to stay. He has no regrets about his decision, and I doubt a late first round selection changed his feelings either.
# 42 Doron Lamb, Milwaukee Bucks
Everything about this pick smells of a “steal.” Although Lamb’s draft stock took a big dip between the end of the season until tonight, his shooting ability was considered to be a coveted asset in this draft. For the Bucks to get a knock-down shooter this late in the draft, who at times was considered a 1st round talent, again– feels like a bit of a steal. The Bucks GM seems to feel the same: “We are going to keep Doron Lamb. A lot of people had him rated in the first round. We’re really excited.”
#46 Darius Miller, New Orleans Hornets
Darius Miller may have had to wait a while, but something tells me the result was worth the wait. Darius Miller will join forces with former teammate Anthony Davis in the familiar city of New Orleans. I think it’s safe to say that the New Orleans Hornets just became the adopted NBA team of Big Blue Nation. Miller completes an incredible 4-year college career, which included a Final Four and a national championship, by reaching his dream of making the NBA. Storybook ending for Miller.
– Calipari joked in a post-draft interview that this year has been so good he “might just retire. I’ll say this: if the Dominican team makes the Olympics, I’m done.” Hahahahahahaha. Funny Cal. Hahahaha. But seriously, don’t joke about that.
– John Calipari also took time to comment on the future intimidating big-man tandem involving one of his former players, Demarcus Cousins, joining up with Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. Calipari joked, “I wouldn’t want to be on that other team. You better bring arm pads and chest pads.”
– The SEC had 8 first round draft selection. Some will say that should quiet the naysayers about the strength of the league. Agreed–to an extent. But more importantly, how does Kevin Stallings flame out of the tournament AGAIN with two first rounders? And the first pick of the 2nd round? Keep focusing your complaints on the unfair scheduling, Kev.
– Andre Drummond shoots 29% from the free throw line. LOL. Wait, wait. I’ve got an even better joke. The Indiana Pacers selected Miles Plumlee instead of Perry Jones III. What a Pacers move.
– On a more serious note, this is the front page of ESPN.com right now…
– Congratulations to Anthony Davis for news that on any other day, may have been the highlight of his day. Davis was the recipient of yet another major award: SEC Male Athlete of the Year. Davis is the first University of Kentucky athlete to win the award since Tim Couch in 1998.
– With all of the draft news swirling around, Coach Calipari’s practice notes were almost an afterthought. Calipari provided a few intriguing nuggets about the guys who we are about to turn all of our focus to for the rest of the summer. At this point it’s almost becoming a broken record, but Calipari speaks very, very highly about Willie Cauley-Stein. I can’t remember Calipari seeming as genuinely surprised and excited about a particular player before the season as he is about Cauley-Stein. He gushed about his length (not to be confused with height…there is a difference, folks), his ability to continue the lob-city offensive scheme of last season and his speed. Considering that Cauley-Stein was a standout wide receiver for his high school football team, perhaps all of these things should be expected– but I don’t think anyone could have predicted him to be the talk of the town this summer. Calipari was also very complimentary when speaking about the returning guys, commending them for practicing like veteran leaders. He also noted Wiltjer’s improved footwork and speed, which should be music to everyone’s ears. Calipari also said he believes Julius Mays, a newcomer to the workouts this week, will be Kentucky’s best spot-up shooter.
– And in case you were still unsure, Alex Poythress is a man-child, and Calipari agreed in so many words. Archie Goodwin likes having him around too. He sent out a very bromantic tweet earlier today…
– “We seem to be setting standards every time I turn around.” – John Calipari.
– Oh, and I want to play for Kentucky.
(From Coach Cal’s Twitter)
Goodnight…same time next year?