Kentucky quartet picked to play on professional stage
Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011 9:06 pm
By: UK Sports, AP reports
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Four former University of Kentucky basketball program members were selected in the 2011 NBA Draft, including top-10 picks Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight who were selected third and eighth overall.
Kanter was selected No. 3 overall by the Utah Jazz, followed by Knight at No. 8 by the Detroit Pistons.
Josh Harrellson went 45th to the New Orleans Hornets. DeAndre Lig-gins ended the night for Kentucky when he was selected 53rd by the Orlando Magic.
Harrellson was traded to the New York Knicks for cash.
It marks the second straight year that Kentucky had multiple players selected in the top 10 of the draft. Additionally, the Wildcats have had nine players drafted in the last two years.
UK head coach John Calipari has coached nine first round picks in the last six years and has had a player drafted in five of the last six years.
Kanter never played at Kentucky, ruled ineligible because of a prior relationship with a Turkish club team.
The lack of exposure in the U.S. hasn’t diminished his confidence. During pre-draft media sessions, he told reporters he’s the best player in the draft, and would have gone No. 1 had he played at Kentucky.
Knight averaged 17.3 points per game as a freshman last season for the Wildcats, helping them reach the Final Four.
He joins a Detroit team trying to rebuild after missing the playoffs two straight seasons.
The Pistons went 30-52 in 2010-11, and coach John Kuester was fired.
The team hasn’t hired a replacement.
Harrellson was the Wildcats’ emotional leader throughout the campaign and postseason run.
Liggins averaged 8.6 points and four rebounds in his third and final season with the University of Kentucky.
He is known more for his defense and toughness.