The Kentucky Wildcats and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels could each have a record four players drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday, marking the first time since the NBA switched to a two-round format in 1989 that two schools have accounted for eight players in the first round of the draft, according to NBA.com:
Kentucky “brought in a lot of guys, but what was great about the talent was the way they were able to play with each other,” said Ryan Blake, senior director of NBA scouting operations. “I think that’s what’s so valuable – not just the physical skill side, but the ability to play the roles in the team format.
“North Carolina also brought in enormous talent and they were able to work on their games for a number of years. It’s just unusual. I don’t know if it’ll be done again.”
The Wildcats’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is projected to go in the top three, shortly after his teammate Anthony Davis is selected as the consensus No. 1 overall pick. Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague are also probable first-rounders.
For the Tar Heels, Harrison Barnes will likely be a lottery pick, and John Henson and Tyler Zeller are projected to be chosen in the top 20 of the first round. Kendall Marshall is expected to be chosen in the middle of the first round as well.
Kentucky could see Darius Miller and Doron Lamb chosen in the first round, too. If the projections are correct, it would give the Wildcats six players drafted in the first round, and 10 overall between the two schools.
The last time two schools came close to doing what UK and UNC have the potential to do was in 2007 when Ohio State and Florida each had three players selected in the first round, highlighted by Greg Oden, Al Horford and Joakim Noah.
According to the report, Kentucky head coach John Calipari said that four of his six players are guaranteed to be drafted in the first round but that he’s hoping for more:
“My hope is all six, but I don’t know,” Calipari said earlier this month. “I would be surprised if four are not. I would say four are locks and the other two have to go work out.”