Washington Wizards Take Point Guard John Wall With First Pick in NBA Draft

Point guard John Wall, the No. 1 pick by the Washington Wizards in the National Basketball Association draft, was among five University of Kentucky players taken in the first round to set a record.

Following Wall were DeMarcus Cousins, the fifth pick by the Sacramento Kings; Patrick Patterson, the 14th selection by the Houston Rockets; Eric Bledsoe, the 18th pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder; and Daniel Orton, the 29th selection by the Orlando Magic.

“It’s just a great accomplishment for all of us, individually, and especially for the University of Kentucky, Coach (John) Calipari and the coaching staff,” Patterson said. “We made a new milestone, set history with five.”

Wall, 19, could pair up with Gilbert Arenas -- who is coming off a 50-game NBA suspension and a felony gun conviction -- in the backcourt of a team that went 26-56 last year.

The 6-foot-4 Wall is the first Kentucky player taken with the top pick in the NBA draft. He averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 assists per game as a freshman this past season.

“It’s a big honor,” Wall said in a televised interview after his selection, referring to being the first No. 1 pick from the Wildcats.

Shooting guard Evan Turner, the reigning Associated Press Player of the Year from Ohio State University, was taken with the second overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. The New Jersey Nets then took 18-year-old forward Derrick Favors from Georgia Tech University with the third pick.

Great Expectations

“I have a lot of demands of myself,” Turner said. “If Philly expects me to be great, then we have a mutual understanding.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves chose Wesley Johnson from Syracuse University with the fourth pick, the Kings took forward Cousins at No. 5. The Golden State Warriors selected Ekpe Udoh, a forward from Baylor University, with the sixth selection.

Georgetown’s Greg Monroe went to the Detroit Pistons with the No. 7 pick, followed by Wake Forest’s Al-Farouq Aminu going to the Los Angeles Clippers. The No. 9 pick, by the Utah Jazz, was Gordon Hayward of Butler and Paul George of Fresno State went to the Indiana Pacers with the 10th selection.

Wall signed an endorsement deal earlier this month with Adidas AG’s Reebok that Yahoo! reported was for five years and $25 million.

The last two NBA rookies of the year were point guards Derrick Rose of Chicago and Tyreke Evans of Sacramento, both of whom played for Calipari at the University of Memphis before he moved to Kentucky.

The NBA draft of 60 players was held last night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barry Rothbard in New York brothbard@bloomberg.net

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