Since the NBA Draft's inception in 1947, 1,474 players have been drafted in the first round. Almost 90 percent of those players came from a Division I school. Chances are, if you picked one at random, they'd have worn blue in college.
More than three percent of all draftees have come by way of Lexington, as Kentucky accounts for the most first-round NBA Draft picks, with 49 to their name. That’s one more than fellow blue-blood North Carolina, and four more than Duke.
Here’s how the top 20 schools stack up:
|2||North Carolina||Atlantic Coast||48|
|10||Ohio State||Big Ten||23|
|12||Michigan State||Big Ten||21|
|13||Notre Dame||Atlantic Coast||20|
|13||Connecticut||American Athletic Conference||20|
|15||Georgia Tech||Atlantic Coast||19|
|17||North Carolina State||Atlantic Coast||16|
|17||St. John's (NY)||Big East||16|
No big surprises there. The top 10 schools there account for 44 of the 80 NCAA championships alone.
But they only can claim 17 of the 71 top overall picks since 1947.
Since 1947, 67 top overall picks have come from NCAA Division I schools. Two have come from overseas, and three from high school.
No schools have seen more No. 1 picks than Kentucky and Duke, which each have sent three.
From Kentucky, those three are John Wall (2010, Washington Wizards), Anthony Davis (2012, New Orleans Pelicans), and Karl-Anthony Towns (2015, Minnesota Timberwolves).
Duke’s trio is Art Heyman (1963, New York Knicks), Elton Brand (1999, Chicago Bulls), and Kyrie Irving (2011, Cleveland Cavaliers).
Aside from those two, 44 schools have had at least one No. 1 pick taken, and 17 have seen two.
Here’s how the top schools rank:
|Rank||College||Conference||No. 1 overall picks|
|3||North Carolina||Atlantic Coast||2|
|3||Nevada-Las Vegas||Mountain West||2|
|3||Houston||American Athletic Conference||2|
|3||Cincinnati||American Athletic Conference||2|
|3||Kansas State||Big 12||2|
|3||West Virginia||Big 12||2|
|3||Texas-El Paso||Conference USA||2|
Having North Carolina second in overall picks, and Duke with the most No. 1 picks should clue you in to which conference reigns supreme in the NBA Draft.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has had an impressive 258 players drafted in the first round, approximately 20 percent of all Division I players drafted. The Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC are right behind the ACC.