NEW YORK — The first person the first pick went to was his mother.
John Wall turned and hugged his mother when Commissioner David Stern announced that the Kentucky freshman had been selected No. 1 overall by the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
"I can't even, words can't even explain right now," Wall said as he talked of his mother, Frances Pulley, who raised him in Raleigh, N.C. "Growing up I lived in a tough neighborhood, getting in trouble in school, especially when my dad passed. So my mom taking me to school and picked up in the afternoon, that was it. As a kid, 10, 11 years old, you want to see your family spend time and (we) didn't really have it. She was the first lady, she says, if you don't change your attitude, you'll never be doing so for her, to be in some situation, means a lot to me and I love her to death."
FAMILY WAY: When Ed Davis was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 13th pick of the first round, it meant the draft's father-son legacy would last another year.
This is the eighth straight year that the son of a former NBA player was taken in the draft.
Davis, who left North Carolina after his junior year, is the son of Terry Davis, who played 10 seasons in the NBA with Miami, Dallas, Denver and Washington.
The rest of the streak is: Mike Dunleavy in 2002, Luke Walton in 2003, Jackson Vroman in 2004, Sean May in 2005, Ronnie Brewer in 2006, Al Horford in 2007, Patrick Ewing Jr. in 2008, Stephen Curry, Gerald Henderson and Austin Daye in 2009.
COMING BACK: A total of 103 players applied for early entry to the draft this season and 55 kept their names in the mix after the last date to withdraw. The original list included 80 college players and 23 international players.
Of those that stayed in the draft, 50 are from the college ranks and five are international players.
POINT GUARDS: When John Wall was taken first overall by the Washington Wizards he became the third guard taken with the No. 1 pick in 14 years.
Allen Iverson of Georgetown was taken first by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996, and Derrick Rose of Memphis was the No. 1 pick by the Chicago Bulls in 2008.
Wall and Rose had something else in common: in their one year of college they were both coached by John Calipari. Rose led Memphis to the national championship game with Calipari on the bench and Wall led the Wildcats to the regional finals this season, Calipari's first at Kentucky.
"Coach taught me a lot and I became a better leader vocally," Wall said of Calipari. "I was always a leader by example being the first in the gym and the last in the gym and working hard, but I' m a leader that won't mind speaking up to the older guys."
FIRST NO. 1: In a fact that could win a lot of bar bets, John Wall was the first Kentucky player taken as the overall No. 1 draft pick.
The highest a Kentucky was drafted had been in 1984 when the Portland Trail Blazers took Sam Bowie one pick after the Houston Rockets took Hakeem Olajuwon and one before the Chicago Bulls selected Michael Jordan.
Since the 1966 draft seven schools have had two players taken with the No. 1 pick: Maryland (Joe Smith, John Lucas), North Carolina (Brad Daugherty, James Worthy), Michigan (Chris Webber, Cazzie Russell), Georgetown (Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing), Purdue (Glenn Robinson, Joe Barry Carroll), Houston (Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes), UCLA (Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).Comment on this story
OLD DAYS: For those who thought watching the NBA draft all through two rounds was a bit much think back to the old days when the draft went as long as 20 rounds in 1973. Teams were allowed to keep picking players as long as they wanted and the Buffalo Braves selected 20 players that year, one less than the number of wins they had the previous season.
In 1974, the league put a 10-round limit on the draft and it was trimmed to seven rounds in 1985. The draft went to three rounds in 1988 and to its current length in 1989.
By the way, that player who was the only one taken in the only 20th round ever conducted was Phil Tollestrop of BYU.