Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/28/12

Anthony Davis became the second University of Kentucky freshman in three years to be the NBA's No. 1 overall draft choice as the New Orleans Hornets took Davis with the first pick of the NBA Draft on Thursday.

Kentucky's John Wall was the first pick of the 2010 draft, by Washington, and now the Hornets have made Davis, a 6-foot-11 rebounding and shot-blocking demon, the centerpiece of a franchise that's under new ownership. Tom Benson, who also owns the NFL's New Orleans Saints, purchased the team in April from the NBA, which had assumed ownership of the Hornets in December 2010.

Ever since the Hornets won the draft lottery on May 30, it's been assumed they would select Davis with the first pick.

Davis was only the second freshman to be named college player of the year (Kevin Durant was the other), and Davis has been compared to Bill Russell because of his size, body type and ability to change games with his rebounding and shot-blocking. The Hornets will expect him to have an immediate impact defensively and on the boards, although he might not put up big offensive numbers immediately.

Earlier this week, the Hornets traded away center Emeka Okafor, and power forward Chris Kaman is a free agent the Hornets reportedly do not expect to re-sign, so the Hornets need big men.

Davis averaged just 14.2 points per game in his only college season, but he was still the top scorer for a Kentucky team that won a national championship. He averaged 10.4 rebounds and led the nation in blocked shots at 4.65 a game, yet fouled out of just one game.

Davis was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four even though he scored just six points on 1-for-10 shooting in the title-game victory over Kansas.

He handles the ball well for his size, primarily because he played guard for much of his life before a late growth spurt.

Davis needs to add muscle to bang against NBA big men on a nightly basis. But he is just 19 years old and figures to mature physically.

Although he played center in college, Davis is expected to play the power forward spot in the NBA.

The Hornets also have the No. 10 pick in the first round of this draft to add a piece around Davis. They'd also like to re-sign free agent guard Eric Gordon.

This is the third straight year and the fifth time in the past six years that a college freshman was the No. 1 overall pick, following the selection of Wall two years ago and Kyrie Irving by Cleveland last year.

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