College basketball teams with the most NBA first-round draft picks

Since the inception of the NBA Draft in 1947, approximately 1,500 players have been drafted in the first round. About 90% of these players came from a Division I school. Chances are, if you picked one at random, they would have worn blue in college.

The 2022 NBA Draft took place on Thursday, June 23. The Orlando Magic started the draft by selecting Duke star Paolo Banchero with the first overall pick. Banchero is the fifth No. 1 pick in Duke basketball history.

Last year, the Detroit Pistons led the night by drafting Oklahoma State sensation Cade Cunningham as the first overall pick. It is the highest selection in Cowboy basketball history and the first time since Bob Fenimore in 1947 that an Oklahoma State athlete has become No. 1 overall in a pro draft.

In 2020, Georgian star Anthony Edwards became No. 1 overall for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Edwards was the first UGA player to become the No. 1 overall and the Bulldogs’ ninth first-round pick.

Here is how the top 20 schools rank:

College basketball teams with the most NBA first-round picks

Rank Middle School Conference First-round pick
1 Kentucky SECOND 57
2 North Carolina ACC 53
2 duke ACC 53
4 UCLA Pac-12 40
5 Kansas Big 12 35
6 Michigan Big Ten 28
seven Indiana Big Ten 26
seven Arizona Pac-12 26
9 Louisville Atlantic coast 24
9 Syracuse Atlantic coast 24
9 ohio state Big Ten 24
12 state of michigan Big Ten 21
12 Connecticut Great East 21
12 our Lady ACC 21
15 Maryland Big Ten 20
16 Georgia Technology ACC 19
16 Texas Big 12 19
18 Alabama SECOND 17
18 Tennessee SECOND 17
20 North Carolina State ACC 16
20 Minnesota Big Ten 16
20 St. John’s (NY) Great East 16

No big surprises there. The top 10 schools alone account for more than half of the NCAA championships.

Since 1947, a total of 70 top picks have come from NCAA Division I schools. Two are from abroad and three from high school.

No school has seen more No. 1 picks than Duke, which has seen five.

Duke’s five are Art Heyman (1963, New York Knicks), Elton Brand (1999, Chicago Bulls), Kyrie Irving (2011, Cleveland Cavaliers), Zion Williamson (2019, New Orleans Pelicans) and Paolo Banchero (2022, Orlando Magic)

A total of 46 schools had at least one No. 1 pick.

Here’s how the top schools rank:

Rank Middle School Conference No. 1 overall
1 duke ACC 5
2 Kentucky SECOND 3
3 North Carolina ACC 2
3 UCLA Pac-12 2
3 Kansas Big 12 2
3 Indiana Big Ten 2
3 Michigan Big Ten 2
3 Maryland Big Ten 2
3 UNLV West Mountain 2
3 georgetown Great East 2
3 Utah Pac-12 2
3 Houston AAC 2
3 Cincinnati AAC 2
3 Purdue Big Ten 2
3 Kansas State Big 12 2
3 West Virginia Big 12 2
3 UTEP United States Conference 2
3 Duquesne Atlantic 10 2

Having North Carolina second overall and Duke with the most No. 1 picks should tell you which conference reigns supreme in the NBA Draft.

Through 2022, the Atlantic Coast Conference has had an impressive 285 players drafted in the first round, or about 20% of all Division I players drafted. The Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC are just behind the ACC.

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