Good or bad? The impact of No. 1 picks at the University of Kentucky

06/25/2015 04:50 PM

BROOKLYN, NY — Despite owning both the most victories and highest winning percentage in NCAA Division I history, the University of Kentucky had never produced a No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft before John Calipari arrived in 2009.

Never ever.

Since UK basketball’s inaugural 1903 season, the highest selected Wildcat was Sam Bowie, who went No. 2 overall to the Portland Trailblazers in 1984 — infamously one pick before Chicago selected Michael Jordan.

But oh, how things have changed.

After his first full season in Lexington, the Washington Wizards selected Calipari pupil John Wall with the first pick in 2010, followed by Anthony Davis going No. 1 to the New Orleans Pelicans just two years later in 2012.

With the 2015 NBA Draft tipping off tonight at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN, another Wildcat, Karl-Anthony Towns, is the current odds-on favorite to go No. 1 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If selected at the top, Towns would become the third Wildcat to go No. 1 in the last six years.

No other school has produced more than one No. 1 pick during that time, and Calipari would be quick to point out that he also produced the top overall selection while still with Memphis in 2008 when the Chicago Bulls took point guard Derek Rose.

The KSTV crew discussed the impact of Calipari’s slew of top picks while coaching at Kentucky on Thursday’s show, explaining how it affects both his coaching image and ability to land big-time recruits.


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