BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Having been selected by the Utah Jazz with the 12th pick of last night's NBA Draft, Trey Lyles started the obligatory round of interviews. Television first, of course.
The question-and-answer had hardly begun when Lyles heard over his shoulder that former Kentucky teammate Devin Booker had been taken by the Phoenix Suns with the 13th pick.
"I turned around and I saw him," Lyles said. "Then once I got done with another one, he was sitting down where I was. So I said congratulations to him."
It was that kind of night for Kentucky, which had players heading to the draft stage as if in line for a subway train.
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It was an unprecedented draft for the NBA. Never before had four players from the same college team been among the first 13 picks (North Carolina in 2005 and Duke in 1999 came close with four selections in the first 14).
When asked about Kentucky's history making, Booker smiled and succinctly got to the point.
"Talented team," he said before adding, "and Cal is great."
Coach John Calipari had been moved to marketing nirvana in 2010 when Kentucky had five first-round picks. "Greatest night in the history of the program," said the now unchallenged master of producing first-round picks (the count increased to 19 in six seasons as UK coach).
When asked before this year's draft about the possibility of surpassing 2010, Calipari grinned and said, "I would say it changes things again. Now all the sudden it's like, 'Holy cow, just being on the team you can be drafted."
Former Kentucky standout Karl-Anthony Towns was widely projected to be the first pick. Yet, when the Minnesota Timberwolves made it official, Towns was overcome.
As NBA Commissioner Adam Silver approached the podium to announce Minnesota's pick, Towns turned to Calipari sitting across the table.
"I was trying to drink the water, and I was shaking uncontrollably," Towns said. "And I told him, 'Coach, don't give me the ball right now for the last-second shot. I wouldn't make it.'"
Towns, described by the NBA as a "rare combination of size, skill and athleticism for a big man, said he had no assurance he'd follow John Wall (2010) and Anthony Davis (2012) as UK players who have been the first overall pick.
"You have no idea," he said. "You're talking about the NBA. It's the greatest coverup."
Towns said he had not spoken to Wall, Davis or any other former overall first pick.
"But I know the one thing I have to do," he said. "I have to live up to the expectations and goals. Lofty expectations people are going to have for being the No. 1 pick.
"Through my life, there's always been expectations and goals. I've always had to exceed them and jump over."
Towns spoke of being an example for kids.
"A boy from Piscataway, N.J., and the Dominican Republic can make it," he said. ". . . (I'm) able to show kids around the world what a little hard work, determination, a little bit of luck and some guidance (can do). You can really make it far in this world."
This instance of making it hit the Towns family table like an emotional tidal wave.
"My sister starting crying immediately," he sdaid. "My mom started crying. My dad was just very ecstatic. All those times me and him were in the gym, and you see the end result."
Willie Cauley-Stein followed, taken by the Sacramento Kings with the sixth pick. He looked forward to joining former UK standout DeMarcus Cousins.
"It's just a blessing being in this spot and this situation," Cauley-Stein said. "To learn under 'Boogie' and being in an organization that's up and coming."
Of course, Cauley-Stein might not get that chance. Cousins has repeatedly asked to be traded. Most recently, he's become embroiled in what appears to be a him-or-me showdown with Kings' Coach George Karl.
"It doesn't even really matter how stable they are or not," Cauley-Stein said of the Kings. "You know they're going to end up coming together and putting pieces together to make a good team that can compete. Whether DeMarcus stays or he goes, they're still going to do what they do and have a team that's going to play to win."
Lyles and Booker (No. 14) made history in the 2015 NBA Draft.
"And we've still got three other guys that are going to go tonight," Lyles said of former UK teammates Dakari Johnson and Andrew and Aaron Harrison.
Besides making history, the four UK lottery picks also made themselves a lot of money. According to the salary scale for NBA rookies, the four will collect more than $11,000,000 next season.
When asked what he would first purchase, Cauley-Stein said in a conspiratorial whisper, "Well, I already bought the stuff I already needed with the money I already had.
"So I already have a car and clothes. I don't really need anything else."
A reporter asked Towns, who will receive a rookie salary of almost $5,000,000, about not being able to negotiate a contract.
"Life has just never been fair," Towns said before adding, "I'm just happy with any card I was given today, whether it be from two to a jack. I was going to be happy, regardless."