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Kentucky leads the superlatives, but other schools have reasons to brag
The foot injury to Joel Embiid has shuffled the deck atop the NBA Draft, setting up the potential for a new No. 1 overall pick. Will it be Duke’s Jabari Parker or Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins?
Lucky for us, we don’t have to weigh those options. Here, we’re just interested in the numbers. Whether the pick is Parker or Wiggins, both Duke or Kansas will have reason to brag.
Mike Krzyzewski and Bill Self, though, won’t be the only ones ready to brag about the NBA Draft on the recruiting trail. Kentucky, as usual, is at the top of the list, and should continue its draft day dominance even with the Harrisons and others returning to school.
Here’s a look all the numbers and trends surrounding how colleges have performed in the last 10 NBA Drafts.
|Most NBA Draft Picks Since 2004|
|School||Picks (First round)||School||Picks (First round)|
|1. Kentucky||19 (13)||9. Arizona||11 (6)|
|2. North Carolina||17 (14)||T10. Memphis||10 (5)|
|3. Kansas||16 (10)||T10. Syracuse||10 (7)|
|T4. Connecticut||14 (11)||T12. Florida State||9 (3)|
|T4. Duke||14 (9)||T12. Ohio State||9 (7)|
|T6. Florida||13 (6)||T12. Washington||9 (6)|
|T6. UCLA||13 (7)||15. Georgia Tech||7 (5)|
|8. Texas||12 (8)|
History with the No. 1 Pick
• If Jabari Parker is the No. 1 overall draft pick, Duke will be the first school to produce four No. 1 overall picks. The Blue Devils are already the only team with three No. 1 picks — Art Heyman (1963), Elton Brand (1999) and Kyrie Irving (2011).
• If Andrew Wiggins is the No. 1 overall pick, Kansas will have its second No. 1 overall pick, joining Danny Manning in 1988.
“The University of Calipari”
• Kentucky’s spot atop the leader board is not a surprise, but the Wildcats’ 19 draft picks since 2004 is more impressive considering almost all of it has come in the last four drafts. John Calipari has produced 16 draft picks since 2010. The only program to produce more over the last decade is North Carolina (17).
• Throw in Calipari’s tenure at Memphis, and the Wildcats coach has accounted for 24 draft picks in the last 10 seasons, including 16 first-round picks, nine lottery picks and three No. 1 overall picks.
• The “University of Calipari” has produced seven more draft picks in the last 10 years than the next highest team. Calipari teams have produced seven more draft picks in the last 10 years than the current Mountain West lineup.
• For all the draft numbers surrounding Kentucky, maybe it’s surprising the Wildcats are fourth in lottery picks in the last 10 drafts behind North Carolina (10), Connecticut (nine) and Kansas (eight).
• Ohio State has the nation’s longest active streak in the draft, producing a pick in seven consecutive seasons. However, Ohio State’s draft streak likely ends this season. If that’s the case, Kentucky will have the longest draft streak, with a pick every year since 2008. Ohio State’s picks since 2007 are:
2013: Deshaun Thomas (58th overall pick)
2012: Jared Sullinger (21st)
2011: Jon Diebler (51st)
2010: Evan Turner (second)
2009: B.J. Mullens (24th)
2008: Kosta Koufos (23rd)
2007: Greg Oden (first), Mike Conley (fourth) and Daequon Cook (21st)
• Kansas has a streak of four consecutive drafts with a lottery pick, a streak that will continue with Wiggins and Embiid. The Jayhawks have had Ben McLemore (2013), Thomas Robinson (2012), Marcus and Markieff Morris (2011) and Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry (2010) all taken in the first 14 picks.
• How weird was the 1999 draft? The three longest draft droughts by major conference programs date back to 1999. That’s when Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State and TCU all last had a player drafted. In all, seven teams in the six major conferences haven’t produced a draft pick in the last decade.
That said, that superlative isn’t fair to Creighton, which was A. in the Big East last season and B. Will have National Player of the Year Doug McDermott drafted. The longest draft droughts are as follows:
Nebraska: Venson Hamilton (1999, 50th overall)
Northwestern: Evan Eschmeyer (1999, 45th)
TCU: Lee Nailon (1999, 43rd)
Penn State: Calvin Booth (1999, 35th)
Auburn: Jamison Brewer (2001, 40th)
Seton Hall: Eddie Griffin (2001, seventh), Samuel Dalembert (2001, 26th)
Creighton: Kyle Korver (2003, 51st)
Overachievers and Underachievers
• This is astounding: Since Michigan State last produced a first-round draft pick, the Spartans have won three Big Ten regular season titles, won two Big Ten tournaments and reached two Final Fours. In the last decade, Michigan State has six draft picks in the last 10 years. In other words, Michigan State is basically Nevada when it comes to the NBA Draft.
• The same goes for Wisconsin. The Badgers have reached the NCAA Tournament every year since 1999, yet produced only three draft picks in the last 10 years.
• Louisville has had five draft picks in the last 10 years, same as Texas A&M, Providence and Iowa State.
• Florida is helping bring up the SEC’s second-round numbers (more on that later). The Gators have produced the most second-round picks in the last 10 drafts with seven.
• Florida State has nine total picks in the last 10 years, as many as Ohio State and Washington. The Seminoles produced one lottery pick (Al Thornton in 2007) but six second-rounders.
• Georgia Tech had seven picks since 2004. That’s more than Michigan State, Louisville and Pittsburgh. That’s also probably why Paul Hewitt coaches at George Mason now.
|Most Draft Picks since 2004*|
|Conference||Picks (First Round)||Conference||Picks (First Round)|
|1. ACC||89 (55)||7. American||33 (19)|
|2. SEC||71 (32)||8. Mountain West||17 (10)|
|3. Pac-12||63 (38)||9. West Coast||11 (5)|
|4. Big 12||53 (28)||T10. Atlantic 10||10 (6)|
|5. Big Ten||49 (25)||T10. Conference USA||10 (2)|
|6. Big East||39 (23)||12. Ohio Valley||5 (1)|
|*counting teams in their 2014-15 alignment|
• Will the new ACC be the best basketball conference? It’s tough to argue with 89 draft picks and 55 first-rounders among the teams in the 2014-15 lineup. No other league has more than 38 first-round picks.
In our tally, the ACC gained a net 16 draft picks in the last two years of expansion. Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse combined for 21 picks in the last 10 years while Big Ten-bound Maryland had five.
• The Big Ten has been arguably the strongest basketball league in recent seasons, but that hasn’t shown up on draft day. The full 14-team lineup including Maryland and Rutgers has produced fewer picks (49) than the 10-team Big 12 (53) and a startling 40 fewer than the ACC.
• A few reasons for the Big Ten’s limited draft numbers: Northwestern, Nebraska, Penn State and Rutgers are essentially NBA Draft dead weight. Meanwhile, two of the league’s best programs in the last decade, Michigan State and Wisconsin, accounted for nine draft picks combined. In other words, the same amount Florida State produced. Ohio State is the only Big Ten program in the top 15 of schools producing draft picks in the last 10 seasons.
• The SEC’s spot at No. 2 among leagues with draft picks in the last 10 years is a bit deceiving. The SEC stocked up on second-round picks with 39. That’s five more than the ACC and 14 more than the Pac-12 or Big 12. The SEC is third among all leagues in first-round picks, trailing the ACC (55) and Pac-12 (32).
• For one of the nation’s top mid-major conferences, the Missouri Valley has not been a star on draft day. The league has produced one draft pick in the last 10 years, Bradley’s Patrick O’Bryant in the first round in 2006. That may change with Wichita State’s Cleanthony Early in this year’s draft, but the numbers remain startling considering that traditional one-bid leagues like the Ohio Valley, MAAC, Horizon and Big West have produced more.
• The first season for the reconfigured Big East was a sobering one, especially as the top coach for one of the league’s flagship programs — Buzz Williams at Marquette — left for an ACC bottom feeder. The current alignment also trails the major conferences in draft picks. The Big East’s 23 draft picks isn’t far off from the Big Ten’s 25, but the league has produced five lottery picks, six fewer than the current teams in the American.
• Speaking of the American, the league is being carried on draft day by two programs — Connecticut and Memphis have combined for 16 of the league’s 19 first-round draft picks in the last 10 years.