Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Sports

NCAA champ Wildcats breaking up

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky's starting lineup of three freshmen and two sophomores did most everything together. Now, they will go their separate ways in the NBA.

Freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague and sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb declared for the draft in a nationally televised news conference Tuesday night.

"We made it work," Jones said. "We all wanted to be there and do it together like we've done everything else together."

The group, all clad in similar blue UK golf shirts, came into the season largely untested before ascending to No. 1, winning the SEC in dominating fashion and capping an NCAA Tournament run with a 67-59 victory over Kansas in the title game for the school's eighth championship.

"It's been a great opportunity playing here, I'll miss this team, the way we played together. We all love each other," said Davis, who won every major player of the year award and is likely the No. 1 pick in June's draft. "I'm just going to miss this place. We won an NCAA championship here and did a lot. We all did a lot for this school and I'm going to miss it."

The five join seniors Darius Miller, who is also projected to be drafted, and Eloy Vargas in leaving the program.

"This is a players first program. I said it three years ago. During the season, it's about our team. You saw it in this year's team, they were about each other," coach John Calipari said. "When the season is over, it's about moments like this."

The departures mean only freshman Kyle Wiltjer remains from last season's rotation.

Kidd-Gilchrist appeared emotional for a few moments and later said his mother, Cindy Richardson, wanted him to return to school since he was one of the youngest players in Division I after turning 18 in September. He has other plans for her.

"I want to spoil my mom. I think I'm going to spoil my mom to death. That's one thing I'm looking forward to," said Kidd-Gilchrist, who plans to buy her a watch for starters.

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