NEW YORK — Players who will be selected in the National Basketball Association Draft usually plan their wardrobes for the big occasion. And like brides not wanting to be seen in their wedding dresses before the blissful occasion arrives, University of Kentucky players here for Thursday night's draft did not want to reveal too much about their outfits.
John Wall plans to wear his birthday suit to the affair. Figuratively speaking.
It won't be a Lady Gaga moment. Wall said he let his mother pick the suit Monday because that was her birthday. The UK All-American hasn't even seen the suit yet.
"Hopefully, there's no pink or green," he said. "I don't want to be picked on."
When asked what he'd do if his mother picked a pink suit, Wall said, "I'll have to deal with it. I might get jumped on, but I'll have to deal with it."
Wall said his mother, his two sisters and four friends he considers brothers will attend the draft.
"Before I had my name, they were there for me," Wall said of his companions. "When I was just a random person."
Now he stands poised to make UK basketball history by being the program's first player taken with the overall No. 1 pick in an NBA Draft.
"It'd be good to make history," said Wall, who expressed surprise that such former UK players as Ron Mercer, Derek Anderson and Jamal Mashburn had not achieved that distinction.
The two other UK players attending the draft, DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson, declined to describe the suits they'll wear.
"A nice little suit," said Cousins, who did reveal that the suit was gray.
When he sits in the so-called "green room" and waits to be selected, Cousins will have plenty of company. His mother, brother, sister, friends and coaches will join him. That includes UK Coach John Calipari, whose presence will be a not-too-subtle response to those who wondered if his sideline exchanges with Cousins meant something.
"People think we hate each other and all this nonsense," Cousins said. "People (in Kentucky) know he's like a father to me and I'm like a son."
Patterson said he picked out the suit he'll wear himself. But he volunteered no details.
"It's a surprise," he said.
Unlike Wall, Patterson made his own wardrobe decisions. "The color, everything down to the shoes and tie," he said. "Every single inch (and) detail."
But Patterson was all dressed up with nowhere to go. He had picked out his attire and had only to wait for an invitation to attend the NBA Draft. Then he would hear his name called and walk on stage to shake Commissioner David Stern's hand.
One problem. As of Tuesday morning, the NBA had not called.
"I was hoping," Patterson said on Wednesday. "I was praying. I gave up hope for a while because we started winding down the stretch."
His agent, Odell McCants, lobbied the NBA to invite Patterson. "I was calling the league office several times a day for weeks," McCants said. "It would be a travesty if Patrick Patterson is not here for draft night."
Noting Patterson graduated in three years and can serve admirably as an NBA spokesman, Odell said, "If the league's not going to come up with that kind of kid, who are they going to promote?"
Not to worry, NBA consultant Chris Ekstrand said. The league normally sends out invitations in two mailings, the first to players considered surefire top-10 picks, then a second to a carefully chosen four or five players. The NBA wants to avoid the sight of a player waiting by himself in the green room for a long time.
So the belated invitation to Patterson suggests he'll be among the top 15 or so picks. "I still see the glass as half-full," Ekstrand said.
McCants called with the news about noon on Tuesday.
"I didn't answer because I was in a car," Patterson said.
So McCants texted a message asking Patterson to call.
When Patterson called, McCants said the NBA had invited the UK player to the draft.
"Quit playing with me," Patterson said.
"No, I'm serious," McCants said. "Start packing."
Six hours later, Patterson was on a flight to New York.
A long-held Patterson dream will come true.
"I always wanted to be in the green room," Patterson said. "My teammates were going to be there, and I wanted to be beside them."