NEW YORK (AP) - Kentucky and North Carolina appear headed for an NBA-first during Thursday night's draft.
The two marquee college basketball programs each will likely have four players selected in the first round, starting with UK's Anthony Davis — the all-but-certain No. 1 overall pick.
If that happens, it would be the first time two schools accounted for eight first-rounders — possibly in the first 20 picks — in the same draft since the NBA went to its current two-round format in 1989. And the number could grow to as high as 10.
Kentucky "brought in a lot of guys, but what was great about the talent was the way they were able to play with each other," said Ryan Blake, senior director of NBA scouting operations. "I think that's what's so valuable — not just the physical skill side, but the ability to play the roles in the team format.
"North Carolina also brought in enormous talent and they were able to work on their games for a number of years. It's just unusual. I don't know if it'll be done again."
On the Kentucky side, forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could go right behind Davis at No. 2 and doesn't seem likely to slip out of the top seven. Blake expects forward Terrence Jones to go anywhere from No. 6 to No. 15, while guard Marquis Teague is likely a mid-to-late first-round pick.
As for North Carolina, Blake expects Harrison Barnes to go somewhere between No. 3 and No. 10, long-armed forward John Henson between No. 5 and No. 15, and 7-footer Tyler Zeller between No. 6 and No. 20. Blake said point Kendall Marshall, regarded as one of the top point guards in the draft, is a likely mid-to-late first-rounder.
Kentucky's Doron Lamb and Darius Miller also have a chance to be first-round selections.
Since the NBA went to a two-round draft in 1989, only four schools — Duke in 1999, North Carolina in 2005, Connecticut in 2006 and Kentucky in 2010 — have had at least four first-round picks in the same draft, with the Wildcats setting a record with five two years ago, according to STATS LLC.