June 29, 2012 / 12:11 AM / 7 years ago

New Orleans swoop on power forward Davis

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - U.S. college player of the year Anthony Davis was taken with the number one pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday at the Prudential Center.

NBA prospect Anthony Davis from the University of Kentucky tries on his cap after being selected by the New Orleans Hornets as the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft in Newark, New Jersey, June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Hunger

The choice of the slender power forward came as no surprise after Davis, as a freshman, led Kentucky University to the U.S. college basketball championship this year and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

“It’s indescribable right now,” Davis told reporters. “A great feeling, great experience. I’ve wanted this all my life, so it’s finally here.

“To be drafted number one 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.”

Davis said he would have to build up his strength when asked about his greatest challenge entering the NBA.

“The physicality. Guys are a lot stronger in the NBA and I know that’s one of my weaknesses. So I try to make it a strength, stay in the weight room, try to get tougher.”

The 6-foot-10 Davis averaged 14.2 points a game for Kentucky and shined on the defensive end, pulling down 10.4 rebounds a game and blocking nearly five shots a game.

It was a double celebration for Kentucky, as minutes after Davis’s name was called, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that college team mate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a small forward, had been taken with the second pick by the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Washington Wizards took guard Bradley Beal of the University of Florida with the third pick before the Cleveland Cavaliers tabbed guard Dion Waiters of Syracuse with the next.

Power forward Thomas Robinson of Kansas went to the Sacramento Kings with the fifth pick of the first round.

Editing by Ian Ransom

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