Were just a few hours out from this year’s NBA draft which is set for tonight, which means that the local sports community has been a buzz about this year’s championship Kentucky team. It’s the contention of many locals that Wildcats will dominate this year’s draft the same way they did in 2010- citing first and foremost Anthony Davis who many around the country are predicting to be the number one draft pick.
For that matter, I’ve also heard people discussing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s possible number one status, in my humble opinion no way will Gilchrist go ahead of Davis, but my opinion’s worth about as much as any other guy talking sports around town which is to say, not a lot.
In any case, the event is going to Newark, New Jersey this year, set to commence at 7 p.m., and will be broadcast live on ESPN. This got me thinking though, which can be dangerous, when there’s such a good chance of Kentucky producing another number one NBA draft pick who are some of the other first picks from area schools. Well, I set out to find that information.
First of all, the first NBA draft was in 1947, of course at that time it wasn’t called the National Basketball Association, but rather the Basketball Association of America or BAA. In those early years a plethora of area athletes were drafted but none of them got that first pick; that is until 1960 when Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson was drafted to the Cincinnati Royals (became the Sacramento Kings). It took the Bearcats another forty years to get another number one pick in Kenyon Martin who went to the New Jersey Nets in 2000.
Following Robertson was another area school, Walt Bellamy from Indiana University was the first pick of the 1961 draft. Bellamy went to the Chicago Packers (became the Washington Wizards). I.U. followed that up in 1977 when Kent Benson went to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Twelve years later Louisville got their first, first selection athlete when “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison went to the Sacramento Kings in 1989. To date the Cards haven’t had another first draft pick. Meanwhile Kentucky has had only one themselves, and it came in 2010 when John Wall made his way to the Washington Wizards.
Now, I’m not going to offer any conjecture about this year’s draft, if you want that go to any local place that has guys and beer.
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