NEW YORK - John Wall is heading to Washington, and a record number of Kentucky teammates are following him to the NBA.
Wall went to the Wizards with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft Thursday and four more Wildcats were among the top 30 selections, making them the first school ever to put five players in the first round.
After falling short of the Final Four even with all that talent around him, Wall is ready to help Washington bounce back from a disappointing 26-56 season.
The SEC player of the year is the first Kentucky player chosen first overall.
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The pick came shortly after a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that the Chicago Bulls had agreed to trade veteran guard Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick in the draft, Kevin Seraphin, to the Wizards. Hinrich is a solid veteran defensive guard who could help with Wall’s transition to the NBA.
After his name was announced to begin the draft, Wall hugged family members and donned a blue Wizards cap before climbing onto the stage to shake commissioner David Stern’s hand.
Also drafted from Kentucky were DeMarcus Cousins (No. 5, Sacramento), Patrick Patterson (No. 14, Houston), Eric Bledsoe (No. 18, Oklahoma City) and Daniel Orton (No. 29, Orlando).
The Philadelphia 76ers took national player of the year Evan Turner from Ohio State at No. 2. Derrick Favors became the second freshman taken in the first three when the New Jersey Nets chose the Georgia Tech forward.
The Minnesota Timberwolves then grabbed Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson. Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh (Golden State), Georgetown center Greg Monroe (Detroit), Wake Forest’s Al-Farouq Aminu (Los Angeles Clippers), Butler’s Gordon Hayward (Utah), Fresno State’s Paul George (Indiana), and Kansas’ Cole Aldrich (New Orleans, then to OKC) round out the top 10.
The Portland Trail Blazers fired general manager Kevin Pritchard less than an hour before the start of the draft, according to The Oregonian newspaper, which said on its website that Pritchard remained part of the group conducting Portland’s draft. … A judge in Chicago has issued an arrest warrant for New York Knicks player Eddy Curry for failing to appear in connection with a civil lawsuit.