LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- With the first pick in my Tuesday morning column, I'll begin with more 2012 NBA Draft thoughts:
Not all the Draft Drama is limited to the order the players will be selected Thursday evening at the Prudential Center in downtown Newark, N.J. The competition actually begins with the announcement of the names of the players who will – and will not – earn invites to appear in the Green Room at the draft.
(Full disclosure: The Green Room is a myth. There is no room, and the only thing that's green is the cash the players will earn. The invited players merely sit with their families, agents and college coaches in a private area on the floor. Uninvited players can sit in the stands with fans, the way former Morehead State star Kenneth Faried did last season.)
Which players have received invites to the "Green Room," this year?
According to DraftExpress.com, two of the 14 names on the list are former University of Kentucky players – Anthony Davis, who will be selected first by New Orleans, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who will be taken between two and six.
North Carolina will actually have the largest group – Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson. UNC point guard Kendall Marshall was snubbed.
The other nine invitations reportedly were issued to these players:
Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond of UConn; Bradley Beal of Florida; Myles Leonard of Illinois; Austin Rivers of Duke; Weber State's Damian Lillard; Thomas Robinson of Kansas; Terrence Ross of Washington and Syracuse guard Dion Waiters.
*The eyebrow raising omissions?
Probably Marshall, Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Kentucky forward Terrence Jones.
The NBA likes to limit the number because the league doesn't want players and their families looking uncomfortable on national TV if they slide in the draft. (Google video of the painful footage of former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn tumbling in the 2007 NFL Draft for evidence.)
*Louisville native and former Duke star Nolan Smith had the best perspective on not getting invited: It's better to watch the draft on TV in a relaxing environment with your family. There will be plenty of time to shake NBA commissioner David Stern's hand later. Smith sent that in a Tweet to Marshall Monday night.
Smith didn't draw a "Green Room," invite but was still picked in the first round by Portland last season.
*Who believes that Louisville would embrace the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming and Diving Trials?
Thought so. Me, too.
Jim Host, the driving force behind the arena, has talked about pursuing the trials at the KFC Yum! Center. A pool could be built on the arena floor, the way one has currently been constructed in Omaha, Neb. In fact, the fact sheet for the KFC Yum! Center says the facility would seat 21,500 for swimming.
Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports.com, a man who knows the local swimming scene better than anybody, said in a radio interview that Louisville was making a push for the 2016 event.
*Last week I wrote about the push by former St. Xavier runner Bobby Curtis to make the U.S. Olympic track team in the 10,000-meter run. Curtis had a tough night last Friday, finishing 10th, well behind the top three finishers who made the American team.
What happened? Curtis ran the second fastest 10K by an American in 2011 and figured to finish in at least the top five. Didn't happen that way.
In an interview with a representative of Villanova, his alma mater, Curtis questioned his strategy of not running any 10K races on a track this year prior to competing in Eugene, Ore., last Friday. Curtis had run a 10K road race in Central Park in New York City. Curtis did not blame the result on the rainy conditions.
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