Kentucky Basketball: 2011 Draft Thoughts

Oh, yes he did!

If last year's NBA Draft was the "greatest day in the history of Kentucky basketball," the 2011 NBA draft was surely a very good day.  For the second straight year, Kentucky has placed at least four players in the NBA from the draft, although unlike last year, two went in the second round.

Observations:

  • Enes Kanter is finally free to play basketball.  May his career be long and successful, and it seems he will always be a Kentucky Wildcat.  Dennis Thomas of the NCAA Committee on Infractions is feverishly drafting a 10-page single-spaced letter to Dr. Lee Todd as we speak.
  • Brandon Knight slipped a bit.  He was projected to go at #5 to Toronto, but Tristan Thompson's unexpected pick at #4 by Cleveland threw the top ten into disarray.  Knight was eventually picked at #8 by the Detroit Pistons, and assuming Tayshaun Prince re-signs with Detroit, UK fans may have a new favorite team.
  • How wild was it to see Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, and Jimmer Fredette picked #8, 9, and 10 respectively?  Jimmer will be playing with the Big Cuz in Sacramento.
  • Marcus and Markieff Morris were picked back-to-back at 14 and 15.  They came into the world less than 10 minutes apart, and go into the pros less than 10 minutes apart.
  • The most widely panned pick of the night was the New York Knicks selection of Iman Shumpert of Georgia Tech.  Almost everybody scratched their head at that pick, especially when fellow defensive ace Chris Singleton was still available.  There is at least one of these in every draft.
  • Tobias Harris of Tennessee went surprisingly high at #19.
  • Morehead State's Kenneth Faried was drafted #22 by Denver.  He will outwork the whole team.
  • Texas had 3 players taken in the first round when Corey Joseph was surprisingly taken at #29 by San Antonio.
  • The Big 12 had a big night with six first-rounders.  The ACC had five, the SEC had three, the Big East had 2, the Big 10 had one, and the Pac 10 had three.
  • Georgia's Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie both went in the second round, both to Los Angeles.
  • Josh Harrellson was picked a surprising 45th (mid-second round) by New Orleans, no doubt due to Calipari's "Kentucky Effect."
  • DeAndre Liggins will join former UK player Daniel Orton with the Orlando Magic at #53.
  • Scotty Hopson, who produced all sorts of angst in Kentucky when he signed with Bruce Pearl's Tennessee Volunteers a few years ago, was left at the altar and went undrafted.
  • The Louisville Cardinals were also 0-fer in this draft.  So here's how Calipari's pitch goes when recruiting against Louisville:

    First, he plays a mixtape of the 2010 and 2011 draft, showing seven first and two second round UK picks accompanied by cheers.

    Then, he shows the number of Louisville players picked in the 2010 and 2011 draft, which is a big, fat goose egg accompanied by crickets.

    Then, he just shakes the hand of the player and his parents, and leaves, to receive the LOI the next day.
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