The past decade has produced NBA All-Stars whose alma maters range from college bluebloods to one-time Cinderellas, but it seems like some colleges have NBA-ready talent year after year. Those schools, to the surprise of no one, are the ones causing mayhem on the road to the Final Four every March.
Since 2003, North Carolina has won two National Championships and been to three Final Fours. In that time, the Tar Heels have also produced 13 first-round draft picks -- more than any other school. Their run of draft-night success began in 2005 when Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants and Sean May were all picked early, ending a four-year drought of first-round selections from Chapel Hill. Felton, McCants and May were each McDonald's All-Americans in 2002, but it took until their junior seasons to deliver the school's first National Championship in 12 years.
With the John Calipari one-and-done model, the Kentucky Wildcats come in at No. 2, having produced 12 first-rounders since 2003. More impressively, the Wildcats had just one player (Rajon Rondo) taken in the first round between 2003 and 2009, meaning the last three drafts have been loaded with Wildcats. Kentucky also won a National Championship and went to two Final Fours those three years. Anthony Davis and John Wall, both former Wildcats, make up two of the last three No. 1 overall selections.
Connecticut and Kansas have each produced 11 first-round picks in the last decade. Neither school has seen a player go No. 1, but UConn has had a trio of top-three picks (Hasheem Thabeet, Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon). The Huskies and Jayhawks have also been to a combined six Final Fours since 2003, and have won a combined three National Championships.
The best schools for producing first-round draft picks over the last decade can be seen below:
|School||Total No. of First Round Picks|