UK Men's Basketball

UK makes history with five NBA draft picks in the first round

In an historic night for the University of Kentucky, five players, including John Wall as the number one overall pick, have been taken in the 2010 NBA Draft. In addition to Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton have all been taken in the first 29 positions in the draft.

As expected, the Washington Wizards selected Wall with the first pick.

Wall, who became the first UK player ever selected with the first overall pick, stood immediately when his name was called. He buttoned his suit coat, kissed a young woman at his table, took a Wizards’ cap, hugged his mother and then headed for the stage.

Never smiling, Wall approached NBA Commissioner David Stern and shook his hand. Something Stern said made him smile. Maybe Stern noted that the Wizards last overall No. 1 pick in a NBA Draft was a big bust, Kwame Brown.

Or maybe Stern let Wall know that the NBA rookie salary cap calls for a $4,286,900 salary next season and another $4,608,400 in 2011-12.

Then Wall left the stage to begin a round of interviews.

A short time later, Cousins was taken by the Sacramento Kings.

Cousins joins newly acquired Samuel Dalembert, who came to the Kings in a trade last week with Philadelphia to provide a defensive boost inside.

A 6-foot-11 All-American freshman, Cousins averaged 15.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 23.5 minutes per game and led the Southeastern Conference with 20 double-doubles in his lone college season for the Wildcats.

The Kings were hoping to draft a player this year who can make an immediate impact and get the franchise back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

Cousins, will make $2,812,200 in his first season with the Kings.

Patterson was taken with the 14th pick by the Houston Rockets. The 6-foot-9 Patterson averaged 14.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks as a junior last season.

Patterson initially entered the 2009 draft, then decided to return to school when John Calipari was hired to replace the fired Billy Gillispie.

The Rockets went 42-40 and missed the playoffs last season. All-Star center Yao Ming is expected to return healthy from foot surgery this year, and Patterson would bring much-needed bulk off the bench.

Patterson will make $1,519,400 in his rookie season.

Four picks later, Eric Bledsoe was taken by the Oklahoma City Thunder, but shortly after that, ESPN reported that the rights to Bledsoe were traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. He will make $1,237,500 his first season.

And with only two picks left in the first round, Daniel Orton was taken 29th by the Orlando Magic.

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