NEWARK, New Jersey – U.S. college player of the year Anthony Davis of Kentucky was taken with the number one pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday, and moments later the power forward had even more to celebrate.
“It’s indescribable right now,” slender power forward Davis, 19, told reporters after shaking NBA Commissioner David Stern’s hand. “A great feeling, great experience. I’ve wanted this all my life, so it’s finally here.”
Davis’s dream night was topped off when his college team mate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist became the second player taken in the draft when the Charlotte Bobcats made their selection.
Davis and small forward Kidd-Gilchrist, who teamed up to win the U.S. college basketball championship, became the first players from the same school to go one-two in an NBA draft.
“It’s crazy,” Davis said. “Michael is a great player.”
Before the draft, Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist sat with Kentucky coach John Calipari, but they did not talk about going one-two.
“I was shocked at first,” Kidd-Gilchrist said about hearing his name called. “I was shocked.”
Kidd-Gilchrist’s selection at number two was a bit of a surprise, but the choice of Davis was a no-brainer.
“To be drafted number one overall means a lot to me, for a 19-year-old freshman, now professional,” Davis said. “The city of New Orleans was great, I had a great time when I went to visit. I just can’t wait to get down there and start to play.”
The 6-foot-10 (2.08 m) Davis averaged 14.2 points a game for Kentucky and shined on the defensive end, pulling down 10.4 rebounds and nearly five blocked shots a game, and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
Davis said he would have to build up his strength when asked about his greatest challenge entering the NBA.
“The physicality. Guys are a lot stronger in the NBA and I know that’s one of my weaknesses. So I try to make it a strength, stay in the weight room, try to get tougher.”
The Washington Wizards took guard Bradley Beal of the University of Florida with the third pick before the Cleveland Cavaliers tabbed guard Dion Waiters of Syracuse with the next.
Power forward Thomas Robinson of Kansas went to the Sacramento Kings with the fifth pick of the first round.
New Orleans used the 10th pick to take Duke guard Austin Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
The Houston Rockets had three first-round picks, having added draft choices through trades.
Houston took guard Jeremy Lamb from Connecticut with the 12th pick, added small forward Royce White of Iowa State at number 16 and nabbed forward Terrence Jones of Kentucky at 18.
The first international player taken in the draft was France’s Evan Fournier. The shooting guard from Poiters Basket 86 was taken with the 20th pick of the first round by the Denver Nuggets.