Blog Entry

Which program boasts most NBA players?

Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:29 am
By Matt Norlander

OK, so take your guess. Which college program do you think has the most representation at the NBA level right now?

What jumps to mind? North Carolina’s superb lineage? You know Ben Howland had all those pros at UCLA in the past seven years. What about UConn? It’s always got a few future millionaires wearing its threads for a year or two.

The answer’s actually …

Duke: just plain more athletic and more talented than anyone else. (US PRESSWIRE)

Duke. It’s ironic at face value, since the joke’s always been something to do with Duke’s players always being so great at the college level and amounting to nothing beyond that. But Duke’s been consistently getting guys into the Association.

You want to know how Mike Krzyzewski’s really keeping his program at the top? Well, winning that 2010 title helps, but just as importantly, he can walk into any recruit's home, flash those four rings, and also proclaim he’s putting more guys into the NBA than John Calipari, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Bill Donovan and Jim Calhoun. Most wouldn't think that was the case. Until I came upon this information, I would've maybe put Duke in the top five; certainly not atop the list.

According to rosters listed on the NBA official website as of the season-openers on Christmas Day, here’s who is sending the most players to David Stern's empire.

1. Duke, 17
2. UCLA, 15
    Kentucky, 15
4. Texas, 13
    Connecticut, 13
6. North Carolina, 12
    Kansas, 12
8. Arizona, 10
    Florida, 10

Credit for this information goes to the Arizona sports information department, which sent me a notice that this was the 12th straight season the NBA’s employed at least eight former Arizona players.  As for conference play? Yeah, let's throw out some more ammo for the ACC honks, who can rightfully proclaim their league brings in the most elite talent -- by a wide margin.

1. Atlantic Coast, 62
2. Pac-12, 53
3. Big East, 49
4. Southeastern, 45
5. Big 12, 40
6. Big Ten, 25

Some think these facts mean little, but that's not the case. Here's how it boils. What's a coach's job? Win games. How do you win games? You get the best players possible. How do you do that? What are the best players thinking about? When it's not their next meal or girls, they're daydreaming about playing in the NBA. And at the heart of it all, a coach who puts players into the NBA dangles the biggest carrot in the garden.

The names on that list aren't surprising, and they're not going to change. Winning titles doesn't go hand in hand with elite talent, but keeping your program at the forefront of college basketball does.

Since: Nov 24, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:28 am

Which program boasts most NBA players?

I am pretty sure the 17 Duke players can read. I am not so sure about the Kentucky players.

Since: Jan 19, 2009
Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:37 pm

Which program boasts most NBA players?

What about the most NBA starters?  I mean, how many of these players are just chillin on the pine every game?

Since: Jan 28, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:23 pm

Which program boasts most NBA players?

where's university of maryland university college???... globe university???... university of phoenix???...

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:04 pm

Which program boasts most NBA players?

Agreed, because Matta is doing the same thing at OSU, albeit, not nearly at the level Calipari is. Cook, Oden, Conley, Koufos, Mullins, and Turner are the 6 in the NBA now, and all from Matta. Next year will certainly add Sullinger, with Buford being a fringe possibility.

Since: Feb 24, 2008
Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:17 pm

Which program boasts most NBA players?

Is it possible to be factually correct and yet wrong at the same time?  

I only reference this due to the comment concerning recruiting near the end.  Nobody is putting players into the NBA the way that John Calipari is at Kentucky.  Under Gillispie and Smith Kentucky was not putting as many players in the league as they have been for the past couple of seasons.  Next year Kentucky will put several more in and will pushing Duke.  If Cal had been at UK for more than 2 1/2 seasons he would be dominating this list.  

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