Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who led the University of Kentucky to a national championship, were the first two picks in the 2012 National Basketball Association draft.
Davis was taken as the top selection by the New Orleans Hornets, who finished last season with a Western Conference-low 21 wins. Kidd-Gilchrist went to the Charlotte Bobcats last night.
“My arm was shaking and my hands were sweaty,” Davis said at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. “Got up and hugged Michael, my best friend, wanted to hug him for a minute. When my name got called, wanted to make sure he stayed close.”
The Wildcats’ Terrence Jones was chosen by the Houston Rockets at the 18th spot and Marquis Teague was picked 29th by the Chicago Bulls as Kentucky claimed four spots in the first round. Guard Doron Lamb went to the Milwaukee Bucks (42th overall) and forward Darius Miller was reunited with Davis as the Hornets’ 46th overall selection in the second round.
North Carolina also had four players taken in the first round. Forward Harrison Barnes went to the Golden State Warriors as the seventh pick; guard Kendall Marshall and forward John Henson went back-to-back with the 13th and 14th selections by the Phoenix Suns and Bucks, and center Tyler Zeller was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in the 17th spot.
The New York Knicks, selecting for the first time with the 48th overall pick in the second round, took forward Kostas Papanikolaou, 21, of Trikala, Greece. He played for the Euroleague’s Olympiacos team, where he averaged 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season.
Forward Ilkan Karaman, 22, who played with Karsiyaka in the Turkish Basketball League, was taken by the Brooklyn Nets as the 57th overall selection.
The NBA champion Miami Heat, selecting 27th, picked Mississippi State power forward Arnett Moultrie. The runner-up Oklahoma City Thunder took Baylor power forward Perry Jones as the 28th choice.
Davis, a 6-foot-10 forward, averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks in his only college season.
Florida guard Bradley Beal was the No. 3 pick by the Washington Wizards on his 19th birthday to become the third consecutive Southeastern Conference freshman to be selected. The Cleveland Cavaliers picked Syracuse guard Dion Waiters fourth overall.
“Going into college I had everything going my way,” said Waiters, when asked about his issue with immaturity at school. “I went in as a boy and came out a man.”
The Sacramento Kings rounded out the top five with Kansas forward Thomas Robinson.
“I ain’t stopping for nobody,” said Robinson, “I got work to do.”
Robinson is fighting his father and an uncle for custody of his 9-year-old sister, Jayla, who accompanied him to the draft, the Kansas City Star reported.
In the space of a month in 2011, Robinson lost his mother, who raised the two children on her own, to a heart attack and both his maternal grandparents, the newspaper said.
The Portland Trail Blazers, with the sixth pick, selected Weber State guard Damian Lillard, who was second in scoring in the nation with 24.5 points per game. Washington guard Terrence Ross went eighth to the Toronto Raptors. The Detroit Pistons took Connecticut center Andre Drummond, a freshman, as the ninth selection. Duke guard Austin Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, went next to the Hornets.