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Five Wildcats to Put Names in NBA Draft

Anthony Davis, along with fellow underclassmen Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, and Marquis Teague, will enter their names in the NBA Draft.

Anthony Davis, along with fellow underclassmen Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, and Marquis Teague, will enter their names in the NBA Draft.

April 17, 2012

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague and sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb will enter their names in this year’s NBA Draft. All five players are projected as first-round picks.

Together, the five led Kentucky to its eighth national championship, a 16-0 mark in league play and the program's 45th Southeastern Conference championship. UK finished with a 38-2 record, tying the NCAA record for wins in a season.

Davis, the National Player of the Year and 2012 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, blocked a national-best 4.7 shots per game while leading the Wildcats in scoring (14.2), rebounding (10.4) and field goal percentage (.623). He broke the school and SEC records and NCAA freshman records for blocks in a season with 186. He finished the season with 20 double-doubles which was the most in the SEC this season while also tying the UK freshman record for double-doubles.

Kidd-Gilchrist, an All-America selection by multiple media outlets and the NCAA Tournament South Region Most Outstanding Player, ranked second on the team with seven double-doubles including three against top-20 ranked teams, with the other three coming on the road. Kidd-Gilchrist ranked second on the team in rebounding (7.4), third in blocks (37) and steals (37) and fourth in scoring (11.9).

Teague led the Wildcats in assists this season with 191, ranking second in the SEC in assists per game (4.8). He finished the season with the second-most assists by a freshman in UK history, and his 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference play was the best by a UK point guard under head coach John Calipari in the last three seasons. Over the last 22 games, he finished with a 2.2 ratio.

Jones ranked third on the team in scoring (12.3) and rebounding (7.2). He ranked 62nd nationally in blocks per game (1.8) and became the 59th member of UK’s prestigious 1,000-point club, finishing his career ranked 52nd on the Wildcats’ all-time scoring list. He is only the 34th player in program history to tally 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. Only five prior UK players recorded 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 140 blocks.

Lamb ranked second on the team in scoring (13.7) while hitting better than 46 percent from 3-point range (46.6). He also became a member of the 1,000-point club in Kentucky’s win over Kansas in the national championship game, finishing his career with 1,018 points. He concluded his career as the top 3-point shooter in school history, hitting 47.5 percent of his 3-pointers.

Underclassmen have until April 29 to declare for the draft.

The 2012 NBA Draft will take place on June 28, in the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Press Conference - April 17, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

Opening Statement …
“Let me thank everybody for being here today for this announcement. I want to first talk about that this is a players-first program. I said it three years ago. During the season, it is about our team. You saw it in this year’s team, they were about each other. It is about how we play together, how we share. When the season is over, it is about moments like this. It is about these young people getting with their families and getting information to make a decision about their future.

“We try to teach servant leadership here to every player. This (press conference) was introduced to me as an idea from this team. They came to me and said they wanted to do this together. I was surprised. I didn’t even know they wanted to do it together. We tell them all the time to be the teammate they want to play with. This team has done that by showing what they are doing today. They taught us a lot.

“They understand why they are in school. They are here to get an education. They are all doing well. Last year, we had a 3.0 grade-point average. This team is doing very well academically, and these guys are all going to finish the term. They know, like (former Wildcat) Wayne Turner, they have an opportunity to come back and finish their degrees. They are going to have that opportunity.

“Now, let me do this. I am going to talk about each of these players briefly. I don’t want to get emotional. And anyone that tells you that in one or two years you cannot create a relationship and you are not going to have a bond, they are crazy. These players are connected to our fans just like past players. They are connected to this university and they will come back. This will be a little difficult for me.

“I will start with Anthony Davis because he is on the far right. You are talking about a man that had no idea how good he was. We didn’t either. We knew he had a chance, but he didn’t realize, and neither did we. You are talking about a man who would also defer, was a great servant leader, was a young man that said, ‘Whatever I have to do to help the team win’. Here is the player of the year that took the (fourth) most shots on our team. Blocked shots, rebounds, he did whatever we needed to win and always had a smile on his face. None of these guys got rattled at any point and every team we played took runs at us.

“You have Doron Lamb. And I’ll say it again, with his motor running like it was in the championship game, there is no better guard in the country. He can play both positions. He made a great choice to come back to school; had an opportunity to leave last year, decided to come back. Worked on his game, got stronger, got more confident and I’ll say it again, defending better and doing all the things he needed to do to help himself at that next level.

“Terrence Jones, again, made a good decision to come back. It was his decision just like Doron (Lamb)’s. Had an opportunity to leave, decided to come back. He has taken his game to another level. You are talking about a 6-9 athlete that can play and guard three positions and put his head on the rim. I think the things he has done this year to take his game to another level, phenomenal. But I will say it about both of these young men, how about they were fine and respected, and deferred at times to these young players and had no problem with it. I can’t say enough about that and how they were.

“You have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to my left. (Fifth) leading shot taker on our team. The (fifth) leading shot taker. Defends, high motor, played multiple positions, can guard all five positions. The things that he does as a teammate, the same way, dragged practices, even in games would take over games with an emotion of how he played. His skill level has absolutely improved from the beginning to the end. I think all of these guys would say the staff that we have here from Kenny (Payne) to Orlando (Antigua) to John Robic, those guys worked with those guys worked with them and did a great job with them.

“And then the last guy, Marquis Teague. Early in the year, (he) was shaky. By the end of the year, and I have never watched the last game of our season in all of my 20 years of coaching; until this year, I have already watched this one. Let me tell you something, we won those last two games in a large part because of how Marquis Teague played. Assist-to-turnover ratios, and let me tell you something, in the pick-and-roll defense and offensively, the courage to make shots and not be afraid, the athleticism and speed. I say he’s got Tony Parker speed. So, he also has improved from the beginning to the end. All these guys have.”

“I am just proud of them. I am proud to say that I was able to spend a year with them. Well, two, maybe three or four with a couple. Let me just say that Anthony (Davis) and Doron (Lamb) and Terrence (Jones) have decided to put their names in the NBA Draft, so they will do that. Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) and Marquis (Teague) have also decided to put their names in the NBA Draft. I was trying to scare some coaches out there, that’s all I was doing.”

#3 Terrence Jones, F, So.

General statement made on the dais …
“I would like to thank my family and everyone that was there to support me, the coaching staff for challenging me every day even when I was playing good or playing bad; my teammates for always being there for me and just having fun, and everybody in Big Blue Nation and all the fans that were out there and supported us all year.”

On what memories we will cherish the most …
“Just everyday life with my teammates. Living with each other, practicing together, and just having fun all year around made us special and made us want to be together all the time and that is what made us different from other teams in my opinion.”

On the fan support of Big Blue Nation …
“It amazes me. Especially just experiencing them on the road for us is like not playing on the road compared to every other school. It is a great fan base to have and I am really going to miss that.”

On how important it was to make his decision with the other four guys …
“It was very important. It got backed up because one guy couldn’t make it and we made it work because we all wanted to be there and make it together just like we do everything else together.”

On the importance of the second year of college …
“It was great to come back and be on a special team like this. I wanted to help us become as a good of a team as we could and appreciate everyone on the team. Nobody cared about who got the credit or who scored the points we just let the game flow. We never put the pressure on one player and we always played together. That is what made us special.”

On his emotions …
“It is happy, sad and excited. I am feeling it all. I am leaving a special team like this with a bunch of guys I became close to is hard to do. I am still excited about reaching my dreams and going down that road, but it is hard at the same time.”

On the history they could make with the entire starting five all being drafted in the first round ...
“I haven’t thought about it too much. I am still excited we won a national championship and making history that way. We worked so hard to see a national championship banner and that is the goal we all wanted to reach and is what made us get to where we are.”

On playing against his former UK teammates in the NBA …
“We are used to playing against each other in practices and scrimmages but it is going to be weird. Not having them on my team is going to be weird and different.”

On when he made his decision to enter the NBA Draft …
“I think we came down to the final decision last night with my family meeting to discuss the opportunity and I just decided I was ready to take the challenge.”

On what why he left this year and not last year …
“Winning the National Championship. I felt happy with the way I could leave college and being happy I could move on with my teammates.”

#14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G, Fr.

General statement made on the dais …
“I want to thank my family, friends and coaching staff and all of the fan base, period. These guys right here, man, they mean a lot to me – Darius (Miller) too. I just want to thank you all.”

On his decision …
“I made my decision on Thursday. I went home that night (to New Jersey).”

On what he will remember about his time in Lexington …
“These guys right here in this gym. It was crazy here, but I had a great time.”

On what he discussed with his family about his decision …
“I’m 18-years-old, so that. I’m just so young. That’s it really. I’m ready I think. I have a lot of confidence in myself.”

On if he was one of the first of the Kentucky players to decide …
“I think I was the last one to decide. It’s a dream of mine so I can’t argue with that at all. It’s a dream of mine.”

On if it was mostly off the court stuff he was deciding about …
“I think it was off the court and on the court stuff. But I’m going to be a pro.”

On if he has a team he’s looking for …
“No, I don’t have a team. Whoever drafts me drafts me.”

On if he had an idea for an agent yet …
“No, I don’t know yet still. We’ll see in a few weeks.”

On what he thinks he will be feeling once he’s in the NBA …
“Happy and emotional at the same time. My dad’s not here right now so it’s hard for me. I’m just going to enjoy myself.”

On this team becoming his family and now the team breaking up …
“It’s going to be hard. I think for all of us in general it’s going to be hard. I love college, period. The basketball games here and at Rupp Arena. It’s been a lot of fun.”

On how close he was to coming back …
“I was really close, believe it or not. I’m 18-years-old still. I was really close.”

On what pushed him over the top to decide to go to the NBA …
“It’s my dream. I don’t want to wait anymore on my dream. I want to make it a reality.”

On if it would have made his decision more difficult had Kentucky not won the national championship …
“I think so, for all of us I think. But we won it, so I can’t argue with that.”

#20 Doron Lamb, G, So.

General statement made on the dais …
“I want to thank my parents for having me come here. I have had a great two years. My freshman year we went to the Final Four and had a lot of fun with them. This year, we won the National Championship. I am so excited for my teammates and coaching staff. I want to thank the coaching staff for pushing me in practice and believing in me to make shots in games. I want to thank everyone from Big Blue Nation for supporting me when we had hard times and good times. I love you all.”

On why this was the right time to enter the NBA Draft rather than last year or staying a third year …
“I just thought it was best for me and my family. I have had an awesome two years. This year we won a national championship and you can’t do any better than that. That is why I am going to the NBA.”

On how the last few weeks have been trying to make his decision …
“I talk to my mom and dad every day. My best friend goes here also so I talked to him too and we all just decided I needed to go to the NBA.”

On if it would have been easier to come back to UK if more of the other players were also …
“I am doing what is best for me and my family. I decided to go to the NBA.”

On his emotions …
“I am excited. It is a dream come true to go the NBA. I have worked hard to get here. I can’t wait to go to the next level.”

On if things would have been different if they hadn’t won the National Championship …
“It would have been hard on us. We worked very hard to get to the last game of the season. All the hard work all paid off, so it is hard to say anything bad about us since we won the whole thing.”

On how Coach Calipari and UK will bounce back after losing seven players …
“Well, Coach Cal has no problems recruiting. He can get anybody he wants so I think next year they will have a great team. I don’t know all the names but I know a couple of the guys going and they are pretty good so I think they will have a great team next year.”

On how important the second year was to his development …
“It helped me a lot getting my game and body right. I got stronger and learned the game more from Coach Cal. We had a great coaching staff. I will never forget the moments I had here and I had a great time.”

On the UK fans and how much they supported the team …
“When I first committed here everybody told me the fans were crazy but I never expected this. In the third game of my career we were playing in Maui and the fans were going crazy so after that tournament I knew it was going to be unbelievable the whole season.”

#23 Anthony Davis, F, Fr.

General statement made on the dais …
“First off, I’d like to thank my family, God, friends – everyone who helped me make this decision. I would like to thank the University of Kentucky for giving me the opportunity to play for them and letting me come here and pursue my dream. I want to thank Coach Cal and all the coaching staff for working with me and making me become a better player. At the beginning of the year I never thought I would have this chance to go to the NBA. Now that I am, it’s a dream come true. I would like to thank everyone for helping me to become this great player that I am.”

On his emotions and the craziness that has surrounded him the past couple days …
“It has been crazy. I have been flying everywhere accepting awards. It’s been a great opportunity to play here. I am going to miss this team. We all love each other and had each other’s backs.”

On whether this was an easy or tough decision …
“Tough. I actually decided last night. Last night after the Wayman Tisdale banquet was exactly when I decided. I discussed it with my family real quick and that was actually when I decided. I know a lot of people say it should have been an easy decision but it wasn’t. I am going to miss this place. Winning a national championship here means a lot. I am going to miss it. I always will keep in touch with (the team). They are my brothers for life. I saw Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) get emotional because of how close we are. That’s why we all wanted to do it together. We all love each other and are one big happy family. I guess we are going to celebrate after this, I don’t know. I guarantee we will find something to do together.”

On what made it so tough …
“The fans, the school, the national title – it would always be good to win another one. I’ll miss playing in college. Playing at the next level is going to be different scenery. It’s like a job whereas here it’s all about having fun. You are going to have fun at the next level, but they expect you to win. Here they expect you to win, but you can still be a kid and try and have fun.”

On how he must mature quickly during this transition…
“Most definitely. You have to mature fast. Guys are paying you to perform well and that’s what you have to do.”

On whether Coach Calipari had to wrestle with him to go to the NBA like he did with John Wall
“No, he didn’t say anything to me. I told him I wanted to sit down and talk to my family. He didn’t pressure me but he told me not to kid myself. If I wanted to come back he would have been fine with it. He said, ‘you don’t have to leave, I see how much you love school.’ I am always on-time for class and tutors – I just love school. He didn’t want to take that away from me.”

On how critics will respond to him saying he enjoys school …
“I know they will. It’s the honest truth – I love school. I have always had a 3.5 or higher in classes, always had As and Bs since middle school.”

On his discussion with his parents …
“My mom and dad were arguing so I was sitting back laughing. I thought it was crazy. I never thought it would get to this point. My mom wanted me to stay in school, my dad said, ‘Alright, let’s stop here, are you serious? Did you not see what he just did in college?’ It was just fun. We just had to sit down and decide what I had to do.”

On whether he will return to finish school …
“Most definitely. I will take summer class, finish this semester out and take classes online. I always wanted to get my degree.”

On thinking back to himself as a 6-2 guard wanting to go to Cleveland State …
“I was talking about this with someone earlier. I never thought this would happen. A 6-2 guard with no aspirations or plan of playing pro ball or college ball. Just thinking back on it, this is great and shocking as well.”

On what lesson he can take from all this …
“Never underestimate yourself. Go out there and work hard. No matter where you play in school or even where you go to school, just play hard. Scouts and teams will find you.”

On whether he thinks he can become the best player in the world …
“That would be one of my dreams, to be one of the best players in the league, but I know that is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication. I’ll be going against some of the best players. All these guys want to go to the Hall of Fame and make their mark in the NBA.”

On what the University of Kentucky did for him …
“They did a lot for me. The fans are great. The school provided us with a lot of great opportunities. Coach Cal didn’t have to recruit us and give us a scholarship here but he did. The classes are great, the professors are great and the education is great.”

#25 Marquis Teague, G, Fr.

General statement made on the dais …
“I just want to thank my family for seeing me through these years. I want to thank the coaching staff, the assistants through this rough season. I know it was tough, but we made it through. I want to thank my teammates just for sticking with me when times were rough. We just stuck together as a family. I want to thank Coach Cal for giving me the opportunity to be the point guard for this great school and you know I just want to thank Big Blue Nation. You all supported us every game and we fought it out for y’all.”

On when they knew they wanted to go pro …
“We all talked about it a few days after the game. (We) talked about what we wanted to do, we knew around two or three days after the game.”

On if any of them thought seriously about coming back …
“We all thought about it, even Anthony (Davis). We just love this school, we love playing together and we love playing for Coach Cal. We’re just going to miss it. We thought strongly about coming back.”

On if there was any thought on what kind of “dynasty” this team could be if they all came back …
“Yeah, we all thought about it. We figured if we all came back, we could try to have an undefeated season or something. But we all felt like it was best for us to move on. It was best for us and our families, so that’s what we chose to do.”

On how much thought he gave to improving his game and his stock and coming back …
“I thought about it a lot. I talked to Coach Cal and my parents about it and Coach Cal felt like I’d done enough this year where I could be selected in the first round of the NBA and I felt like I can too.So I’m just going to work out up to that point and just go to the workouts and try to play great.”

On how much he talked to his brother, Jeff (Atlanta Hawks) prior to today …
“I talked to him a lot. He just told me whatever I felt comfortable with, make the decision that’s best for me. He felt like I played good enough, I won a championship as the point guard for the top team in the country and did a great job this year. So if you feel like you’re ready, then go ahead.”

On if they felt like they’d done everything they’d set out to do after they won it all …
“We felt like when we won it all, we’d done everything that we wanted to do. We felt like that was our main accomplishment and we all thought we played pretty good this year, so winning a championship just boosted it for us. Everybody was like, “We’re ready” and we felt that we could go to the next level.”

On if they feel they’ve changed the state of college basketball with people saying that you can’t win with “one-and-done’s”…
“We feel like we did, because we won with one-and-done’s. We have three of them and two two-and-done’s, so we feel like we can win like that. It’s just all about talent, hard work and effort.”

On what he’s heard from the NBA …
“I’ve heard things about where I’ll be picked and things like that. So I have that information and I was comfortable with that, so that’s why I’m going.”


 

 

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