Could Kentucky Produce Five NBA Lottery Picks?
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Freshman All-Americans John Wall and Demarcus Cousins led Kentucky to a top notch 35-3 record, SEC regular season and tournament titles, and an elite eight birth in what everyone knew would be their only season under head coach John Calipari.
What everyone outside the bluegrass state didn't know was that three other players would be coming along for the ride. Freshman guard Eric Bledsoe, freshman center Daniel Orton and junior forward Patrick Patterson all announced they would be submitting their names into the draft pool. Players have until May 8th to change their minds. "It's extremely unusual for four freshmen from the same team to have this opportunity, but it's my job as a coach to prepare these young men for such opportunities," Calipari remarked.
Now, Wall and Cousins are locks as top 5 picks, but what about the other three? Eric Bledsoe averaged 11.2 points, 1.4 steals, and 2.9 assists per game while playing 30.3 minutes. Patrick Patterson put up 14.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 33 minutes. Daniel Orton who originally committed before Wall and Cousins, played only 13.2 minutes a game and averaged 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds.
It is reasonable to project Patterson and Bledsoe in the top 20, but Orton's stats are questionable. One can only wonder what his (along with Patterson's and Bledsoe's) numbers could've been had the three not been in the giant shadow cast by the two All-Americans.
The bottom line is that you can expect them all to be proud members of NBA franchises before NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik steps up to the podium. The pesky questions that remain shall be answered when these five Kentucky draft hopefuls work out with individual teams.
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