Kentucky's draft picks begin acclimating to new NBA homes

June 29, 2012 

The six University of Kentucky players selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night started making their way to their new professional cities on Friday. Here's a look at some of the reaction.

Anthony Davis: The No. 1 overall draft pick will go right to work in New Orleans.

The Times-Picayune said Hornets Coach Monty Williams will hold a workout Saturday for the team's newcomers.

Davis will not stay in the Big Easy for long, though. He begins training with the U.S. national team in Las Vegas, Nev., on Thursday in hopes of securing a spot on the Olympic team.

"I'm going to stay down here and work out until about Wednesday when I leave to go to Vegas," Davis told the Times-Picayune during his introductory news conference Friday. "I'll be in the gym and start working (Saturday). I don't know the schedule yet; I'm pretty sure they'll let me know. Whatever the schedule is, I'm just going to follow through with it."

Williams wants Davis to begin working out in the team's facilities immediately just to get a taste of what is to come.

"Nobody is ready for how hard we work," the second-year Hornets coach told the Times-Picayune. "I've seen guys come into our program and they leave and it's like, 'My gosh, these guys are nuts.' And so I want him to get over that right away."

Davis hopes to soak up plenty of knowledge about becoming a professional while in Las Vegas with the U.S. national team.

"Playing with the superstars in this league — it'll be a great opportunity for me," Davis said. "They'll show me the ropes, show me things I've never seen before. ... I just can't wait to learn from them."

Davis will also receive ample assistance making the adjustment to New Orleans. The Times-Picayune said Davis' parents will help the rookie find a place to stay and plan to live with him during his first season.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Kidd-Gilchrist, selected No. 2 overall in the draft, is expected to be a big part of the future for the Charlotte Bobcats.

"I just want to win basketball games," Kidd-Gilchrist said upon being introduced in Charlotte on Friday along with fellow draft pick Jeffery Taylor of Vanderbilt and new Bobcats acquisition Ben Gordon. "The past is the past around here."

The Bobcats are coming off a 7-59 season, the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106), but are eager to put all of that behind them.

"There's no question about it," Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said. "It's a special time in our franchise, our city and our community."

Kidd-Gilchrist comes into the NBA as the youngest player in the league at a ripe age of 18.

"He's just a kid," said his mother Cynthia Richardson. "In reality, he should be going into his senior year of high school."

But Kidd-Gilchrist doesn't lack for focus and said he relishes the task ahead.

"This is my job now so I have to go do it," said Kidd-Gilchrist.

Terrence Jones: Jones, who was drafted No. 18 overall by the Rockets, was introduced in Houston on Friday along with fellow first-round draft picks Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut and Royce White of Iowa State.

Jones said playing for John Calipari and dealing with the intense, day-to-day scrutiny that came with playing in Lexington will help him make a smooth transition to the pros.

"The whole thing is just 'NBA-style,'" Jones said. "Kentucky gets you the most NBA-ready as any school can get. The media of Kentucky and then Coach Cal, it's a great experience, the whole deal."

Despite all that preparation, Jones admitted to being nervous on draft night.

"I was at the hotel just watching the draft on TV hoping for my name to be called," Jones told Rockets.com. "Once I heard it, I was so relieved and so excited. I was sweating before that though."

Jones was greeted by a familiar face upon arriving in Houston. Patrick Patterson, who was drafted by the Rockets during Jones' first summer in Lexington, is a former UK player.

"I saw him right when I got in the locker room," Jones told Rockets.com. "Just having a player I know I can go to who already has some experience is going to be a great thing to have, especially coming from my school."

Marquis Teague: The Chicago Bulls' only draft pick, Teague was not introduced by the team on Friday but the team was clearly thrilled to get him at No. 29 in the first round.

"We were very excited Marquis Teague was still on the board," said Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. "Obviously, we feel we got a real value in this pick."

The Bulls plan to play Teague as the backup to another former John Calipari point guard, All-Star Derrick Rose.

"He gives us another guy that can break defenses down, get into the paint, and make plays for himself and others," Forman said. "He's got great speed and quickness, and we think, a very, very high ceiling."

Teague should benefit from having played at Kentucky, according to Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau.

"It's a big step going from college to the pro game," he said. "The fact that he's played in a number of big games helps."

Doron Lamb: The Milwaukee Bucks were pleased to find Lamb available in the second round, where they chose the Kentucky guard with the 42nd overall pick.

"To pick up a player like Doron Lamb, we're really excited," Bucks General Manager John Hammond told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "We think he's one of the best shooters in this draft.

"A lot of people are saying the same sort of thing right now. We had him rated as a first-round pick."

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Lamb played two seasons at Kentucky and averaged 13.7 points and shot 46.6 percent from three-point range.

"I just want to come out here and work hard," Lamb said Friday upon being introduced in Milwaukee. "I'm glad they picked me."

He said he is looking forward to joining a backcourt with veteran stars Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.

"I can't wait to get on the court and play with them," Lamb said. "I just want to make open shots, come off screens, make shots and create for my teammates."

Hammond said Lamb might compare to another former Kentucky player the Bucks selected in the second round, Jodie Meeks.

"That's a great comparison," Hammond said of Meeks, who is now with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Darius Miller: Miller, who was drafted in the second round, No. 46 overall, was not introduced Friday in New Orleans, but Davis spoke about how pleased he is to have the Maysville native as an NBA teammate.

"I'm ecstatic," Davis said of the Hornets also drafting Miller. "He's a great player. It's fun playing with him. I think he can really help this organization. ... Most guys don't have a teammate they know can help them transition to the league and I had that all the time with Darius at Kentucky. I think the transition for both of us will be great."

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