The WDRB College Basketball notebook is back, with praise for some University of Kentucky players from a source that might surprise you . . .
Davis made believers of IU players
There are at least two college basketball players who believe that former UK star Anthony Davis will be a special NBA player – Indiana forward Christian Watford and Hoosiers' guard Victor Oladipo.
The New Orleans Hornets picked Davis first in the NBA Draft Thursday night. Watford and Oladipo battled against Davis twice last season – beating UK, 73-72, in Bloomington Dec. 10 before falling to the Wildcats, 102-90, in the semifinals of the NCAA South Regional in Atlanta March 23.
Foul trouble limited Davis to six points and nine boards in the loss. But he played better – nine points and a dozen rebounds – in UK's victory.
"His length was pretty amazing," Oladipo said. "He's good, a legitimate overall Number One draft pick. He has a lot of potential to be very good."
"His length is special," Watford said. "We tried to negate it a little bit by getting him in foul trouble (during the first IU-UK game). But he can really run the court. He can finish. He's a great player."
Draft 1-2 punch wasn't what Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist had planned
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis have been best friends since they arrived together at Kentucky about a year ago. They have talked about a million things.
Here is one thing they did not talk about: Going 1-2 in the Draft.
They knew that Davis figured to be the first selection by the New Orleans Hornets. And he was.
They did not expect Kidd-Gilchrist to be the second pick by the Charlotte Bobcats. Most draft forecasts had Charlotte selecting either Kansas forward Thomas Robinson or Florida guard Bradley Beal.
"I was shocked at first," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "I was shocked. But, no, we didn't (discuss going 1-2). We didn't at all."
It was the first time players from the same team were selected first and second. In 1969, Milwaukee selected former UCLA center Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) first and Seattle picked UCLA guard Lucius Allen third. Phoenix used the second pick that year to select Florida center Neal Walk.
Comparing Big East schedules for Cards, 'Cuse
The Big East announced the opponents' list for conference games next season. Dates for the games will not be released until September. With West Virginia now playing in the Big 12, the scheduling format was changed for 2012-13.
Instead of playing three league teams, home and home, Big East schools will play four opponents twice. The other 10 teams will be split, five home and five away.
Louisville and Syracuse are currently considered the teams to beat next winter. How do the schedules of the Cardinals and Orange compare?
Louisville's double-opponents are Syracuse, South Florida, Seton Hall and Notre Dame. Only Seton Hall failed to make the NCAA Tournament last season.
Syracuse will play Louisville, Georgetown, Villanova and Providence twice. The Friars and Wildcats did not make the NCAA field last season. This is the final Big East tour for Syracuse, which is leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Georgetown and Villanova have been signature rivals of the Orange for three decades.
U of L's toughest single road opponents will be Georgetown, Villanova and Rutgers. Syracuse plays at Marquette, Pitt and South Florida without a return game.
Watford's UK buzzer-beater looking for one more win
Watford's game-winning three-point shot against Kentucky Dec. 10 is still resonating throughout the sports world. In fact, the shot is one of 16 nominees for the ESPY award for the Best Play from ESPN.
The Best Play winner will be determined through a public vote at www.ESPN.com/ESPYS. The Best Play is a bracket-style competition, with the top 16 seeds cut to the final eight on Tuesday, July 3rd.
The final four nominees will be revealed Monday, July 9th. Voting will continue through the ESPYS Countdown Show and close when the show begins at 9 p.m. (EDT) July 11th.
Watford's shot is seeded eighth. In the first round it is matched against the last-second, game-winning touchdown pass that Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins threw against Wisconsin.
Watford is enrolled in the second summer session at Indiana. He said that nearly seven months after he stroked the game-winner over Darius Miller, the questions about the shot have not slowed.
"I get asked about it at least five times a day," Watford said, with a smile. "They ask me how did it feel, and what did it feel like with the ball coming out of my hands.
"A lot of people even asked me about it when I was home (last month) in Birmingham. It marked a big part of our program and a big part of last season, so I'm sure people will ask me about it for a long time."
Watford, a senior, is ready to move forward to next season. Indiana is ranked in the Top Five nationally in all the major pre-season polls. Watford has heard the hype, but prefers to dismiss it
"It's good to hear but at this point we have to realize it's all talk," he said.
SEC earns respect with big draft night
The Southeastern Conference was the big winner on NBA Draft night. Not only did Kentucky push four players into the first round, Vanderbilt (two), Florida (one) and Mississippi State (one) also had players taken in round one. No league matched the SEC's totals of eight first-rounders and 12 players selected.
Here is the NBA Draft scorecard
1. Southeastern – 8 first-round picks, 12 total. 2. Atlantic Coast – 6 first-round, 8 total. 3. Big East – 5 first-round, 8 total 4. Big 12 – 3 first-round, 9 total. 5. Pac 12 – 3 first-round, 3 total. 6. Big Ten – 2 first-round, 4 total.
Hoosier highs shine in draft
Indiana high school basketball also had a solid Draft night. Four former Indiana prep players were selected:
Tyler Zeller, 2008 Mr. Basketball from Washington High School was taken by 17th by Houston and then traded to Cleveland.
Miles Plumlee of Warsaw was taken 26th by the Indiana Pacers.
Former Indianapolis Pike star Marquis Teague, who graduated in 2011, was selected by Chicago with the 29th pick in the first round.
And, Robbie Hummel, who played at Valparaiso High School, was selected 58th by the Minnesota Timberwolves. THE LIST
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