Record 16 freshmen taken in NBA draft's first round

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Friday, June 23, 2017

The Sacramento Kings have their point guard of the future after takingDe'Aaron Foxat No. 5 in Thursday night's NBA draft.

The Kentucky freshman averaged 16.7 points and led the SEC in assists at 4.6 per game last season.

Fox was the fifth straight freshman taken in this year's draft, following Markelle Fultz (76ers), Lonzo Ball (Lakers), Jayson Tatum (Celtics) and Josh Jackson (Suns). The run on freshmen continued at No. 6 as theOrlando Magicselected Florida State's Jonathan Isaac.

The 6-foot-11, 205-pound Seminole might be light on the scales, but he is heavy on upside, having averaged 12.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals in his one season in Tallahassee.

On the opposite end of the height spectrum is the 6-3 Fox, who clocks in as the fastest player in the draft and was favored over Ball by some teams at the NBA combine, according to ESPN's Chad Ford.

"I just attack everyone," Fox said this week. "No matter who's in front of you -- no matter if it's defense, offense, rebounding. Every aspect of the game, I just feel like I attack it."

Fox's attack mentality was on display during the NCAA tournament when he scored 39 points against Ball and UCLA to lead Kentucky past the Bruins and into the Elite Eight.

A record 16 freshmen were taken in the first round overall, with the run continuing at No. 7, as the Minnesota Timberwolves took Finnish frosh Lauri Markkanenfrom Arizona. Markkanen, however, is earmarked for the Chicago Bulls as part of the night's blockbuster trade that sentJimmy Butler to the Wolves.

French point guardFrank Ntilikinabroke up the freshman mixer, going eighth overall to the New York Knicks.

Things got back on track at No. 9, as theDallas Maverickstook the ACC freshman of the year, point guardDennis Smithout of NC State. Gonzaga freshman power forwardZach Collinswent 10th overall to the Kings but was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of a pick swap.

The Charlotte Hornets took Kentucky freshman shooting guardMalik Monkat No. 11.

Duke shooting guard Luke Kennardbecame the first sophomore to come off the board, going at No. 12 to the Detroit Pistons. He was followed by another sophomore,Donovan Mitchell, who was also thethird straight shooting guard selected. The Louisville product was taken at No. 13 by the Denver Nuggets, though he was sent toUtahas part of a trade that shippedTrey Lyles to the Nuggets.

Bam Adebayo was the third Kentucky freshman to go in the lottery, with the power forward going 14th overall to the Miami Heat.

Portland made North Carolina's Justin Jackson the first junior to go in the draft but traded him to Sacramento.

Trade picks continued as the Bulls selected Creighton freshman center Justin Patton at No. 16 for the Timberwolves as part of the Butler trade compensation.

Michigan juniorD.J. Wilsonbecame the first player from the Big Ten to be selected and was the first of four straight power forwards to come off the board. Wilson's selection at No. 17 to the Milwaukee Buckswas followed by UCLA's TJ Leaf(Indiana), Wake Forest'sJohn Collins(Atlanta Hawks) and Duke'sHarry Giles(Portland, but traded to Sacramento).

Terrance Fergusonbecame only the third player whose path to the draft went from high school straight to playing abroad to being a first-round draft pick. The Texas native, who spent last year playing in Australia, was taken at No. 21 by theOklahoma City Thunder. Ferguson, a 6-foot-7 shooting guard, follows in the footsteps of Brandon Jennings andEmmanuel Mudiay, who also bypassed college by playing professionally in Italy and China, respectively.

With the first of their two first-round picks, the Brooklyn Nets grabbed Texas freshman centerJarrett Allen.

Indiana small forwardOG Anunoby, who is recovering from a knee injury, went next to the Toronto Raptors. The 19-year-old said he planned to celebrate being drafted by enjoying some plain cheesecake on Thursday night.

Utah next took forwardTyler Lydonout of Syracuse; however, he he was traded to Denver.

Anzejs Pasecniksbecame the second foreign player to be selected, as the Latvian center was selected at No. 25 by the Magic.

Purdue big manCaleb Swanigan's rags-to-riches story will continue in Portland, as the Blazers selected the sophomore with the 26th overall pick.

The Nets' second pick of the round, the 27th overall, was used on Utah small forwardKyle Kuzma, who is headed to the Lakers as part of the D'Angelo Russell-Brook Lopez deal.

The Lakers picked North Carolina'sTony Bradleyat No. 28, but Bradley is headed to the Jazz for the 30th and 42nd picks in the draft.

The first round ended with the first two seniors of the night being selected as Colorado guardDerrick Whitewent 29th to the San Antonio Spurs and Villanova guardJosh Hartwent 30th overall to the Jazz, though he's headed to the Lakers in a trade.

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