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June 27, 2013There was draft-night drama for a pair of former Kentucky Wildcats on Thursday, but when it settled, Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin were first-round NBA Draft picks.
Noel slid on draft night, from the projected No. 1 pick to the sixth pick, where he went briefly to the New Orleans Pelicans, who reportedly were set to trade the 6-foot-10 center to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Goodwin also was involved with a trade, but his came after he climbed from possible second-round pick to the 29th pick in the first round. He's headed to the Phoenix Suns, from the Golden State Warriors via the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It marked the fourth straight season that Kentucky had multiple first-round draft picks.
The Wildcats have had 13 first-round picks and 17 total selections in the NBA Draft in four seasons under coach John Calipari.
Noel, who sat out the final nine games of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, had been projected as the likely No. 1 pick despite the injury.
But he slipped on draft night and watched from the floor at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., as UNLV's Anthony Bennett went first to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Noel fell to sixth, where the Pelicans, who last season selected Kentucky's Anthony Davis first overall, took him.
Davis is the only Wildcat ever to block more shots in a single season than Noel's 106.
"It's going to be a shot-blocking party when I get down there," Noel told ESPN after he was selected.
But the party was cut short when the Pelicans agreed to send Noel and a 2014 first-round pick to the Sixers for guard Jrue Holiday and a second-round pick in this year's draft, Yahoo! Sports reported.
"I like where Nerlens ended up in Philly," Calipari tweeted after the trade. "I think it's a great situation with a young team."
Goodwin, projected as a potential late first-round or early second-round pick, crept into the first round, the 29th of 30 first-rounders.
The 18-year-old Goodwin - the youngest American player in the draft - will be a combo guard in Phoenix with the chance to play some point, a position he played sparingly in his only season at Kentucky.
ESPN's Jay Bilas noted on the telecast that Goodwin made 55 percent of his shots near the rim at UK, but only 33 percent of his jump shots.
"Goodwin's got talent," Bilas said on the draft telecast. "He's a combo guard, a little bit raw on the offensive end. He's athletic, he's really good in transition. When he gets to the rim, he's most efficient."