UNLV forward goes No. 1 in NBA draft

June 27, 2013 at 11:46 PM
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NEW YORK, June 27 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers kicked off the NBA draft Thursday with an unexpected selection, making Nevada-Las Vegas forward Anthony Bennett the No. 1 pick.

Cleveland had the top choice for the second time in three years and it had been widely expected the Cavaliers would select Nerlens Noel from the University of Kentucky.

Instead, Noel fell all the way to the No. 6 slot and even after being chosen by New Orleans became part of a reported deal involving the Philadelphia 76ers.

An ESPN report said Philadelphia would send all-star guard Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for Noel and a first-round pick next year. Holiday has three years remaining on what was originally a four-year, $41 million contract.

The 6-foot-7 Bennett was named the Mountain West Conference freshman of the year last season. He is the first UNLV player chosen No. 1 since Larry Johnson went to Charlotte in 1991.

Orlando then used the No. 2 pick to choose shooting guard Victor Oladipo from Indiana and Washington selected Georgetown small forward Otto Porter with the third choice.

Indiana forward Cody Zeller was picked fourth by Charlotte and Maryland center Alex Len was made the No. 5 pick by Phoenix.

After Noel was finally drafted in the sixth spot, the rest of the Top 10 was made up of Kansas guard Ben McLemore (by Sacramento), Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (by Detroit), Michigan guard Trey Burke (by Minnesota) and Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum (by Portland).

Burke was later part of a trade involving Minnesota and Utah. Burke went to the Jazz in exchange for both of Utah's first-round picks -- UCLA shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng, a center from Senegal who played last year with the national champion Louisville Cardinals.

Muhammad was the 14th player chosen and Dieng was the 21st.

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