As if John Calipari needed any more recruiting ammunition after back-to-back Final Four appearances and a national title this spring, the Kentucky coach got some Thursday night.
The Wildcats became the first program ever to produce the first two picks in an NBA draft when the New Orleans Hornets selected Anthony Davis at No. 1 and the Charlotte Bobcats nabbed Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at No. 2.
The closest another program has come to pulling off that feat is UCLA's 1969 national title team, which produced the No. 1 and No. 3 picks in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lucius Allen. Only 11 other teams have even had two top-five picks in the same draft including Calipari's 2010 Kentucky team that had John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins go at No. 1 and No. 5.
"Somebody told me they are going to call it the Blue Room instead of the Green Room," a beaming John Calipari told reporters.
New Orleans' selection of Davis was about as surprising as a star quarterback being named his high school's prom king. The 6-foot-10 All-American will immediately provide shot blocking and rebounding for the Hornets and should develop into an offensive threat too as he becomes more comfortable in the NBA.
Kidd-Gilchrist going No. 2 to Charlotte instead of either Florida's Bradley Beal or Kansas' Thomas Robinson was a bit more surprising. The versatile 6-foot-6 wing defends at least three positions, pushes the ball in transition as well as any player in the draft and has a reputation as a relentless worker, all attributes that will help a Bobcats team that was among the worst in league history last season.
Having Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist go back-to-back at No. 1 and No. 2 is the highlight of what should be another banner draft night for Kentucky. The Wildcats produced seven first-round picks and two second-rounders in the first two years of the Calipari era and had another six players drafted Thursday night.
It's debatable whether Kentucky even had the best draft among all college teams, however, since North Carolina had four players go in the first 17 picks. Harrison Barnes went No. 7 to Golden State, Kendall Marshall No. 13 to Phoenix, John Henson No. 14 to Milwaukee and Tyler Zeller No. 17 to Cleveland (via trade with Dallas).
ESPN's Heather Cox asked North Carolina's Roy Williams if there was a competition between him and Calipari over who could produce the most first-rounders. Williams wisely deflected the question, but he did make one challenge: He said he could handle Calipari on the golf course.
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