Bledsoe, Orton join teammates in draft
Kentucky coach John Calipari anticipated five players leaving early for the NBA draft when the Wildcats were beaten by West Virginia in the Elite Eight.
Three players didn't hesitate as freshmen John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and junior Patrick Patterson declared for the NBA draft and said during their announcements that they would stay in the draft. Two others teased Kentucky's fans for a week when freshmen Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton "tested" the draft.
But they're both in now.
Calipari said Friday night that Bledsoe and Orton will join their three teammates and stay in the NBA draft.
"Eric did great in Chicago and Boston [in workouts this week] and will now work out for lottery teams," Calipari said of Bledsoe. "Orton hasn't worked out for anybody yet but [teams] are loving him."
The NCAA's deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft is at 5 p.m. Saturday. Underclassmen were allowed to work out for teams beginning April 29, although few had the opportunity as a number of teams opted to wait for later this month to begin draft workouts.
All five Kentucky players are considered first-round picks, putting the Wildcats in position to dominate the first round. Wall is projected as the top pick, Cousins in the top five and Patterson, Bledsoe and Orton anywhere from late lottery to late first round.
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Kentucky freshman Randle heading to NBA
- Poythress to return to Kentucky, bypass draft
- Source: Mizzou looking closely at UTEP''s Floyd
- Auburn won't appeal Pearl show-cause order