The Kentucky Wildcats Are the Big Winners on 2012 NBA Draft Night
Whichever way you slice it, the Kentucky Wildcats can stand tall among those who benefited the most from the 2012 NBA draft.
As if John Calipari needed any help—even after losing the top six players from his NCAA Tournament title-winning squad.
Anthony Davis—the reigning National Player of the Year—became the second Big Blue product in three years to be the first pick in the draft—joining 2010 top-pick John Wall in that regard.
The newest star of the New Orleans Hornets is also the third Coach Cal tutee in the last five years to go No. 1 overall—after Wall went to the Washington Wizards two years ago and the Chicago Bulls made Memphis' Derrick Rose their choice in 2008.
All of five minutes passed before another 'Cat came off the big board. This time, it was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist—UK's jack-of-all-trades swingman—getting snapped up by Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats at No. 2.
That made Davis and MKG the first and only pair of collegiate teammates to ever occupy the top two spots in the draft and, by extension, Calipari the first coach to have two of his players taken one-two.
Half a round later, it was Terrence Jones—at one time projected to be a top-10 pick—keeping the good times rolling for Cal and the 'Cats at No. 18 to the Houston Rockets. The multi-talented sophomore is a bit of a "tweener" and comes saddled with concerns about his inconsistent effort, but certainly has the talent and physical skills to be an impact player at the next level and, in turn, uphold his honor as a UK alum.
When the Chicago Bulls stepped up to the podium at No. 29, they pegged Marquis Teague as a potential fill-in for Derrick Rose at point guard. At the very least, Teague will have the opportunity to compete for minutes in the Windy City depending on what the Bulls decide to do with CJ Watson and John Lucas III.
Which is Cal's most impressive "pro production"?
Cal had to wait until the second round to see sharpshooter Doron Lamb (No. 42 to the Milwaukee Bucks) and glue guy Darius Miller (No. 46 to the Hornets) selected.
Not that the downtime could've been too agonizing for Calipari. By the end of the night, he stood alone in the league's history books as the first coach to have six of his players selected in the same year in the modern draft era. This, after sending three players into the pros last June (four, if you count Enes Kanter) and setting a record with five first-round draftees the year before.
Throw in back-to-back Rookies of the Years (Rose and Tyreke Evans) from his last two years at Memphis, and it would seem as though Cal can do no wrong when it comes to turning prep stars into productive pros.
Which should hit the ears of all Lexingtonians like beautiful music. So long as Cal is the coach at UK, Big Blue will be a force to be reckoned with on the landscape of college basketball simply because so many of the top high school prospects will want to play for him.
After all, if you're a teenager with hopes, dreams and designs of playing in the NBA, wouldn't you want Cal to be your coach given his remarkable track record over the last five years?
Of course, you don't have to put yourself in their shoes since kids of those caliber are already flocking to Lexington in droves. According to Scout.com, Calipari will welcome the nation's top-ranked recruiting class to UK in the fall—including No. 1 prospect Nerlens Noel. What's more, Cal's 'Cats are already in the mix for eight of the top 10 recruits in the class of 2013 and four of the top six in 2014.
In other words, expect the Wildcats to compete for national titles and for John Calipari to take up residency in the green room on draft day for the foreseeable future.
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