The Washington Wizards selected John Wall with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft Thursday as they quickly began rebuilding their backcourt.
The SEC player of the year is the first Kentucky player ever chosen first overall. He goes to a Washington team hoping to quickly bounce back after a disastrous season that included Gilbert Arenas' season-ending suspension for bringing guns into the team locker room.
Wall could replace Arenas as the Wizards' point guard, or perhaps play alongside him in a potential high-scoring backcourt. He'll try to become the third straight freshman point guard to win Rookie of the Year honors after Chicago's Derrick Rose and Sacramento's Tyreke Evans -- who like Wall also played for John Calipari.
The pick came shortly after a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that the Chicago Bulls had agreed to trade veteran guard Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick in the draft to the Wizards. Hinrich is a solid veteran defensive guard who could help with Wall's transition to the NBA.
After his name was announced to begin the draft, Wall hugged family members and donned a blue Wizards cap before climbing onto the stage to shake commissioner David Stern's hand.
Predicted to finish in the top half of the Eastern Conference last season, the Wizards' season quickly spiraled out of control, reaching its low point on New Year's Day when news broke of the altercation involving guns between Arenas and fellow guard Javaris Crittenton, who also was suspended for the year. Washington eventually traded fellow stars Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler in a dismal 26-56 finish.
Arenas is eligible to return, but Wall is ready to take charge of the team.
"I'm a leader that doesn't mind speaking to older guys," he said.
The Philadelphia 76ers took national player of the year Evan Turner from Ohio State at No. 2. The notoriously tough Philadelphia fans at Madison Square Garden liked the choice, loudly cheering and chanting "Evan Turner! Evan Turner!"
Derrick Favors became the second freshman taken in the first three picks when the New Jersey Nets chose the Georgia Tech forward. The Minnesota Timberwolves then grabbed Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson, whom the Nets also had considered. Stern seemed impressed by the Christmas-colored slacks worn by Johnson, who held up his leg to show them off.
Kentucky, which hoped to have a record five players taken in the first round, put its second in the top five when DeMarcus Cousins was taken by Sacramento. Baylor's Ekpe Udoh also is headed to Northern California, chosen by Golden State at No. 6.
Detroit kept up the run of big men by selecting Georgetown center Greg Monroe with the seventh pick, before the Los Angeles Clippers went for Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu.
Gordon Hayward, darling of the NCAA Cinderalla team Butler, went to the Utah Jazz with the ninth pick. The Indiana Pacers were hoping Hayward was going to be around for the tenth pick, but instead the team chose Fresno State forward Paul George.
With the eleventh pick, the New Orleans Hornets took Kansas center Cole Aldrich. The Memphis Grizzlies took Aldrich's teammate from Kansas with the No. 12 pick, forward Xavier Henry.
University of North Carolina forward Ed Davis was taken by the Toronto Raptors with the No. 13 pick.
Rounding out the lottery picks, the Houston Rockets took Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson with the fourteenth pick.
The Associated Press contributed to this report