By Joe Pantorno, Editor in Chief
NEWARK, NJ-- Basketball's bright lights shined upon The Prudential Center Thursday night as the 2012 NBA Draft gave NBA homes to some of the biggest names in college basketball. The Hofstra Chronicle sports staff was at The Rock and broke down The Draft pick by pick.
1. New Orleans Hornets- Anthony Davis F/C, Fr. (Kentucky)
The 6'10" freshman wowed the nation as he led the Wildcats to a national championship this season. Davis averaged 14.2 points per game (ppg), 10.4 rebounds per game (rpg) and 4.6 blocks per game (bpg) in his lone collegiate season. His 186 blocks led the nation as he won the Freshman, Defensive and Big Man of the Year Awards. Davis also was voted the 2012 National Player of the Year by the Associated Press (AP) and Sporting News while taking home the Oscar Robtertson Trophy, Adolph Rupp Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award.
What he said: "Yeah, undescribable right now. A great feeling, great experience, I've wanted this all my life, so it's finally here. To be drafted No. 1 overall means a lot to me, for a 19-year-old freshman, now professional. The City of New Orleans was great; I had a great time when I went to visit. I just can't wait to get down there and start to play."
2. Charlotte Bobcats- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF, Fr. (Kentucky)
Kentucky swept the top two picks as the 6'7" small forward averaged 11.9 ppg and 7.4 rpg. He was described by his former boss, Kentucky head coach John Calipari, as the hardest working member of his championship winning team last season. MKG was a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) First-Team, All-Defensive and Freshman Team. He was voted Third Team All-American by the AP and Second Team by the Sporting News. A native of Elizabeth, NJ, Kidd-Gilchrist was drafted just down the road from where he used to play high school ball.
What he said: "I just want to play for the Charlotte Bobcats. That's what I want to do right now. Going to see what happens...I have a winning attitude on life and in ball, school. I just want to win basketball games. That's the only think I want to do."
3. Washington Wizards- Bradley Beal SG, Fr. (Florida)
The 6'5" guard will be teaming up in the backcourt with John Wall next season in Washington. Beal was a member of the SEC All-Freshman and First-Team. He averaged 14.8 ppg and possesses solid vision on the floor, coupled with offensive ability that can spark excitement on any NBA team.
What he said: "First of all it's a blessing and an honor to be drafted and to be drafted by the Wizards is terrific. They have a great front office and great team on the uprising. Looking forward to making an impact and going to D.C."
4. Cleveland Cavaliers- Dion Waiters SG, So. (Syracuse)
The first shock of the draft came at no. four when the Cavs went with Waiters. The 6'4" guard was not expected to be drafted this high, but Cleveland liked the concept of Waiters and last year's Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving, joining forces in the backcourt. Waiters averaged 12.62 ppg and 2.49 assists while being named the Big East's Sixth Man of the Year. Waiters was also elected to the All-Big East Third Team and All-Tournament Team.
What he said: "Just a blessing, not having worked out with the team and just their faith in what they see in me; I can't ask for much more. It's great. I played as a starter all my life until I got to Syracuse and I think Syracuse helped me out a lot. As far as being a team player, just having to sacrifice...I'm excited to play alongside my brother [Kyrie Irving]. I've known him for six or seven years and we have been texting and talking forever. He was the first person that greeted me off the stage and gave me a hug and told me, 'welcome to Cleveland.' That meant a lot to me."
5. Sacramento Kings- Thomas Robinson PF, Jr. (Kansas)
Robinson was considered the second best prospect in this draft behind Davis, but the needs for guards dropped the 6'9" forward to no. five. Robinson is an AP, CBSSports.com and Sporting News First-Teamer. He was named the Big 12's Player of the Year and National Player of the Year by ESPN.com. The D.C. native was a finalist for the Wooden and Naismith Award that were both won by Davis. Robinson averaged 18 ppg and 11.9 rpg. His 27 double-doubles led the nation.
What he said: "I just want to thank the organization for taking me as a fifth pick and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of the organization. I really didn't know where I was going to end up at, but it is a bit of a surprise. 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."
6. Portland Trail Blazers- Damian Lillard PG, Jr. (Weber State)
Only the third player ever to be drafted out of the Big Sky Conference, Damian Lillard lit up the scoring books this year. The 6'3" guard averaged 24.5 ppg, second behind Reggie Hamilton of Oakland. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the AP named him to their All-American Third Team. He is a two-time Big Sky Most Valuable Player and a three-time member of the conference's First-Team.
What he said: "I would be lying if I said I expected to be here last year. But I'm honored, man, just to be drafted that high coming from where I come from, the school that I come from, and just so thankful to be in this situation. My foot was broken and I was just hoping to get this year back...It all fell into place this year."
7. Golden State Warriors- Harrison Barnes SF, So. (North Carolina)
Barnes is another name that slipped a bit. The 6'8" forward was expected to go top five, nevertheless, he will be hooping it up with Hofstra alum Charles Jenkins at the Oracle Arena next year. The two faced each other in the Puerto Rico tip-off classic two years ago, with Barnes winning big. He averaged 16.5 ppg in his two years at UNC. He made the All-ACC First Team last season and was an All-American Third Team selection by the Sporting News. The NABC gave him second team honors.
What he said: "I'm very excited...I don't really have a lot of words right now other than that. It's a very first-class organization and I can't wait to get out there and play for them...Just the fact that, you know, someone says they are better than you and they are drafted higher than you, so that's always going to be motivation. I'm extremely happy that the Warriors were able to pick me and I can't wait to get out there."
8. Toronto Raptors- Terrence Ross SG, So. (Washington)
Most draft analysts did not have Ross going until later in the draft, around picks 15-22, but Toronto liked what they saw in Ross. He averaged 16.4 ppg and 6.43 rpg last year. Ross was chosen to the All-Pac-12 First Team. He needs to improve on his shooting efficiency, but he is athletic enough to get to the rim and finish with both hands.
What he said: "I still don't feel like any of this is happening. I feel blessed to be here, and I think it just shows all of the hard work I put in...I didn't think I would go this high, but I'm happy I am. I know I can make an impact at the next level and I'm just happy to be where I'm at."
9. Detroit Pistons- Andre Drummond C, Fr. (UConn)
The 6'11" big man averaged 10 ppg, 2.71 bpg and 7.56 rpg in his one season at UConn. He was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team. Drummond can defend either the low or high post and is an intimidator, but his aggressive play needs to be held in check or he will find himself in foul trouble all too much.
What he said: "It's a dream come true, growing up as a little kid hearing my name being called and shaking David Stern's hand. I just feel great...I talked to Detroit; I actually worked out with them the day before the Draft actually and they told me they liked me a lot and if I was still there, they would definitely take me. The eighth pick went by and they were right up, and I just broke down in tears because I knew I was going to get called next."
10. New Orleans Hornets- Austin Rivers PG, Fr. (Duke)
The son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, Austin averaged 15.5 ppg. He is an NABC All-American Third Teamer while being named to the All-ACC First Team. Rivers won the conference's Freshman of the year as well. He'll be teaming up with Anthony Davis on Bourbon Street as the Hornets just received a complete overhaul in the space of an hour.
What he said: "Coach Monty Williams is a great coach. Anthony's coming. They have a great city. I'm looking forward to going there and working hard and helping out in the community and doing everything I can to help this organization win...My dad, he was more relaxed. He just told me to relax, enjoy it, you're going to get picked somewhere. He told me when I played him [Boston], I'm not going to score."
*Picks 11-20 will be posted tomorrow as we continue with our six part feature of the 2012 NBA Draft.