"During pickup game and summer camp, you immediately saw things John and DeMarcus could do," Padgett said. "You knew John was special. "The things I saw with DeMarcus were not only the skills, but that he was willing to be coachable. I am not saying he was perfect, but he came a long way in a short time. He grew a lot as a player and person. On the court, you saw things that made it obvious he had NBA skills. You worried about his maturity level, but he grew leaps and bounds."
Padgett was doing TV work in Louisville the first time he saw Bledsoe play in the Derby Classic, an annual all-star game.
"That was before I even talked to Coach about coming to Kentucky," Padgett said. "I thought he was good. He was really good in practice and was decent in the game. He was playing away from the ball with Peyton Siva handling the ball a lot. Then I saw him in pickup games with the ball in his hand more and he showed some sensational things. He was ridiculous athletically. He could get by anybody. In the open court, he was very tough to stop.
"During the year, there were times he dominated games. John was the main guy, but at times Eric was the best player on the court and you knew he could play in the NBA. He made a great run at the end to get to where he is now. However, his talent was obvious from day one." Padgett also thought Orton was special even though his playing time was limited because he backed up Cousins.
"Daniel with his size and mobility, he was special. He did not get to show a lot, but he is a good shooter from 17 feet and in. He has the mobility and shooting that the NBA scouts love to see in big guys. I think he'll do very well," Padgett said.