Hornets select Davis with No. 1 pick in NBA draft

By Brian Mahoney

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 28 2012 10:28 p.m. MDT

"Like I said, at Kentucky we had it all the time, especially the six who played, we had the spotlight all the time," Davis said. "I think it really prepared me."

Charlotte, coming off a 7-59 season and the worst winning percentage in NBA history, had been open to moving the No. 2 pick if it found the right deal. Instead, Michael Jordan's team went with Kidd-Gilchrist, whose selection by the Bobcats was loudly cheered, a sharp contrast from the boos Stern received when coming out to announce the picks.

The new Charlotte swingman played in high school at nearby St. Patrick's in Elizabeth, N.J., and fans chanted "MKG! MKG!" as he walked off the stage. Though he and Davis talked before the draft, they didn't discuss the history the Wildcats were about to make.

"No. I was shocked at first," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "I was shocked. But no, we didn't. We didn't at all."

Florida's Bradley Beal went third to Washington, making it three SEC freshman in the first three picks. Cleveland followed with the surprisingly early pick of Syracuse sixth man Dion Waiters at No. 4.

Thomas Robinson of Kansas, who hoped to go second, fell to Sacramento at No. 5. Portland took Weber State's Damian Lillard at No. 6 with its first of two lottery picks, and Barnes was taken seventh by Golden State.

After Washington's Terrence Ross went to Toronto and Connecticut's Andre Drummond to Detroit, the Hornets rounded out the top 10 by taking Duke guard Austin Rivers with a pick they acquired in the Paul trade. Rivers hugged his father, Boston coach Doc Rivers, who came to be with his family instead of with the Celtics, who owned two later first-round picks.

Davis was the only clear-cut pick entering the draft, and there were some early surprises. Players such as Waiters and Ross went higher than expected, while Robinson dropped to the Kings.

"I really didn't know where I was going to end up at, but it is a bit of a surprise," he said, tearing up when talking about his difficult journey that included the deaths of multiple family members in college. "I didn't work out for Sacramento at all, I probably talked to them about once. But I'm here, so I'm meant to be here."

Houston took Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut at No. 12 with its first of three top-20 picks. But the Rockets, who also had the Nos. 16 and 18 picks, were hoping not to use all of them, instead packaging them for an established player after their pursuit of the Lakers' Pau Gasol fell through last year.

The Rockets tabbed Iowa State's Royce White at No. 16 and Terrence Jones two picks later.

Jared Sullinger, once considered a top-10 pick, ended up in a draft free-fall over concerns with his back but was finally taken at No. 21 by Boston. The Celtics followed with Fab Melo of Syracuse, giving them two potential replacements if Kevin Garnett doesn't return.

The NBA champion Miami Heat took forward Arnett Moultrie of Mississippi State at No. 27 with their first-round pick, but traded his rights to Philadelphia for the rights to LSU center Justin Hamilton and a future first-round pick.

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

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