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Thursday afternoon notes

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- ESPN Insider Chad Ford released version 1.0 of his NBA Mock Draft. To no surprise, Kentucky Wildcats litter the first-round draft projections. Ford has point guard John Wall going No. 1, forward DeMarcus Cousins No. 4, forward Daniel Orton No. 11, forward Patrick Patterson No. 12 and guard Eric Bledsoe No. 18. It's truly amazing to see how a guy like Orton, who played sparingly in his first season at UK, has risen so high. It's worth repeating that should the NBA Draft on June 24 go according to Ford's mock draft, it would be the first time in NBA history that four players from the same team were selected with the top 12 picks. You must be an ESPN Insider to view the full mock draft.

- With a 12-game improvement from the season before, the UK men's basketball team posted the third-best turnaround among all NCAA Division I programs this past year. Only Coastal Carolina (plus 15) and Loyola Marymount (plus 13.5) had better improvements from the 2009 final records to the 2010 final marks. The game improvements factor in wins, losses and total number of games played.

- Former Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks made a pretty distinguished list ranked by After guiding the Cats to four consecutive bowl games, the website ranked Brooks No. 5 as one of the top five coaching hires in the Southeastern Conference over the last decade. Brooks beat out the likes of national championship head coach Les Miles of LSU, Bobby Petrino of Arkansas and newly hired Derek Dooley at Tennessee. Florida's Urban Meyer, Alabama's Nick Saban, LSU's Nick Saban and Georgia's Mark Richt ranked 1-4, respectively.

- Very good story by ESPN blogger Chris Low on senior defensive end DeQuin Evans. Low looks back at Evans' journey into college football, his upbringing in a rough neighborhood and how he managed to land in Kentucky.

- UPDATE at 5:15 p.m.: Former UK golfer J.B. Holmes is making noise on the first day of the PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass, long considered the fifth major of the PGA Tour. Holems shot an opening-round 6-under-par 66 and currently sits in second place behind Robert Allenby as the first round continues. Check out live stats at

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