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Wizards tap Wall with first overall pick in draft

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The success-starved Washington Wizards selected John Wall with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft Thursday, the dazzling point guard one of a record five Kentucky players taken in the first round.

Wall played one season at Kentucky, averaging 16.6 points, 6.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds while leading the Wildcats to the final eight of the NCAA tournament.

The Philadelphia 76ers used the second pick to select Ohio State junior guard Evan Turner, while the New Jersey Nets, who finished with an NBA-worst 12-70 record in 2009, tapped Georgia Tech freshman forward Derrick Favors with the third pick.

The 6-foot-4 (1.93m), 195-pound (88kg) Wall said being chosen first "almost brought tears to my eyes" but it will not create any additional pressure to succeed at the pro level.

"I feel like I had pressure since I became number one in high school and was one of the top players," he said. "I always got there hungry wanting to fight hard and compete in every game.

"So when I step on the court I'm going to take on any challenge there."

The Wizards received the first overall pick by winning the draft lottery on May 18, moving up from the number five position based on their 2009 regular season record of 26-56.

Turner will hope to jump-start a Sixers team that was 27-55 last season. The two-time Big Ten Conference scoring champion won the John Wooden Award and the James Naismith Award as the nation's most outstanding college basketball player.

When asked what Philadelphia fans can expect, the 21-year-old Turner said, "I'm a competitor and hate to lose and I'm a hard worker and versatile."

Despite some speculation that the Minnesota Timberwolves would trade the fourth overall pick, the team used the selection on forward Wesley Johnson from Syracuse.

DeMarcus Cousins was the fifth overall selection by the Sacramento Kings. He was the fourth freshman and second player chosen out of Kentucky in the top five.

Wildcats forward Patrick Patterson joined Wall and Cousins as a lottery selection, going 14th to the Houston Rockets. Eric Bledsoe was the next Kentucky player selected at the 16th slot by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

However it was believed Bledsoe's rights would be dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers for a future first round pick. Forward Daniel Orton rounded out Kentucky's magical night when he was selected 29th overall by the Orlando Magic.

The newly crowned champion Los Angeles Lakers did not have a selection until the second round, 43rd overall, where they selected Devin Ebanks, a forward from West Virginia.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)