Kentucky's four first-round picks give the Wildcats 10 the last three seasons, double any other program.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – They never stop keeping score in college basketball. Not on the scoreboard. Not in facilities. Not in attendance.
Not even after the NCAA Tournament is over, the confetti has been swept away and the trophy is on its way to a campus location, which currently is Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky won the 2012 NCAA title by dispatching Kansas less than three months ago.
The Wildcats won again Thursday night in Newark, N.J. when six Kentucky players were selected in the 2012 NBA Draft. Make that six of the first 46 picks.
Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went first and second. That's a record.
It didn't happen at UCLA, not even when the Bruins had Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) or Bill Walton, and John Wooden was plucking the best recruits from across America
It didn't happen at North Carolina, not even when the Tar Heels had Michael Jordan or James Worthy, and Dean Smith was dominating the Atlantic Coast Conference.
It didn't happen at Duke, not even when the Blue Devils had Christian Laettner (insert boos here) or Grant Hill, and Mike Krzyzewski was beginning the grind toward four NCAA championships.
Terrence Jones (18th, Houston) and Marquis Teague (29th, Chicago) joined them in the first round. North Carolina also had four first-round picks Thursday.
The Wildcats separated themselves from the Tar Heels in the second round.
But as the Classes of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 (had to stop somewhere) begin sorting through their college basketball choices, here are the numbers that illuminate the astounding string of talent that has moved through Lexington.
Program With the Most First-Round Picks the Last Three Seasons? Kentucky with 10 (I don't count Enes Kanter. He never played one second for UK.)
That's double North Carolina, Texas and Kansas, the programs in second place.
Program with the Most First-Round Picks the Last Five Seasons? Kentucky with 10.
North Carolina has eight, Kansas seven and Texas six.
If you rewind it for eight seasons, you can uncover a program with more first-rounders than Kentucky. That would be North Carolina.
If you start with the 2005 season, the Tar Heels have 13, two more than Kentucky, which had Rajon Rondo drafted in the first round in 2006.
Was it a perfect night for Kentucky?
No. I'm certain that John Calipari is convinced he can make it better.
The Wildcats had five guys taken in the first round two years ago. Calipari joked about having six first-rounders this season. When Davis (New Orleans) and Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte) gave Kentucky the first two picks, you wondered if this night would be greater than the one that John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton delivered in 2010.
Terrence Jones was drafted 18th by Houston, where he will play with Patterson. Jones started last season as a national player of the year candidate and a potential top five pick. It's one reason he returned to UK.
Part of his reward for sacrificing for this Kentucky team was a national title. But his sacrifice also cost him money because he tumbled in this draft.
Marquis Teague lasted until the next-to-last pick in the first round. It's not as alarming as it sounds. Teague was taken by the Chicago Bulls. Derrick Rose plays point guard for the Bulls. He won the 2011 MVP. But Rose tore a knee ligament during the playoffs. Teague can go to Chicago and play. Immediately.
Doron Lamb and Darius Miller have work to do. Lamb landed 12 spots outside the first round with Milwaukee at 42. Second-round picks are not given guaranteed contracts. He'll have to play his way onto that team.
Ditto for Miller. But his situation is better than Lamb's. Why? Miller went to New Orleans. The Hornets need players. They are trying to create a culture of team players. Darius Miller is a team player, who will continue to enjoy the benefit of playing with Anthony Davis.
NBA Draft Night wasn't a perfect night for Kentucky basketball. But it was close enough.