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Kentucky draftees proving they were worth the hype

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nba1.jpgOddly enough, all the hype that surrounded Kentucky's historic NBA Draft could have turned disastrous in a hurry.

On the heels of an earlier-than-expected loss in the NCAA Tournament, critics would have been quick to pile on Kentucky, head coach John Calipari and UK's NBA quintet had they sputtered in the NBA Summer League.

After all, Calipari did make the controversial - albeit misinterpreted - statement that this year's draft could be the most important day in Kentucky basketball history.

It's early, but with the exception of Daniel Orton's rough start, getting acclimated to the NBA has not been a problem for Kentucky's draftees. It's become clear after the first weekend of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas that UK's 2010 draft class was well worth the hype.

The class may have even been sold short.

Monday night was just another example. Despite slipping to No. 5 in the draft, the much-debated DeMarcus Cousins went out and did what he does best - prove the doubters wrong. Despite concerns about his attitude, character, leadership, blah, blah, blah, Cousins did what he did at Kentucky and dominated the post.

The Sacramento Kings center continued his college penchant for double-doubles and translated it over to the pro game. Cousins finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the Kings' 97-68 rout of the Detroit Pistons.

And then there was the head-to-head matchup of No. 1 overall pick John Wall and his so-called "backup" (Eric Bledsoe) while he was at UK. On Monday night, in front of a packed house in Las Vegas, the self-described brothers guarded each other for a good portion of the night, with Wall's Wizards getting the 89-64 victory over Bledsoe's Clippers.

Wall posted a double-double in his second career game, scoring 18 points while dishing out 10 assists. Bledsoe, for the most part, matched Wall drive for drive, scoring 17 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists

The duo's one downfall in college - turnovers - continued to be a problem Monday, as Bledsoe turned it over 10 times and Wall turned it over eight times.

Nonetheless, it's been a positive start for the ex-Kentucky stars in the NBA. If the 2010 draft was indeed the most important day for UK basketball moving forward, the summer league is certainly helping the argument.

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