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Daniel Wilco | | June 14, 2019

These college basketball teams and conferences have the most NBA first-round draft picks

College programs with the most NBA All-Stars

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:

Rank College Conference First-round picks
1 Kentucky Southeastern 49
2 North Carolina Atlantic Coast 48
3 Duke Atlantic Coast 45
4 UCLA Pac-12 39
5 Kansas Big 12 32
6 Michigan Big Ten 26
7 Indiana Big Ten 25
8 Louisville Atlantic Coast 24
8 Syracuse Atlantic Coast 24
10 Ohio State Big Ten 23
11 Arizona Pac-12 22
12 Michigan State Big Ten 21
13 Notre Dame Atlantic Coast 20
13 Connecticut American Athletic Conference 20
15 Maryland Big Ten 19
15 Georgia Tech Atlantic Coast 19
16 Texas Big 12 17
17 North Carolina State Atlantic Coast 16
17 Minnesota Big Ten 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.

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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
1 Kentucky Southeastern 3
1 Duke Atlantic Coast 3
3 North Carolina Atlantic Coast 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 Nevada-Las Vegas Mountain West 2
3 Louisiana State Southeastern 2
3 Georgetown Big East 2
3 Utah Pac-12 2
3 Houston American Athletic Conference 2
3 Cincinnati American Athletic Conference 2
3 Purdue Big Ten 2
3 Kansas State Big 12 2
3 West Virginia Big 12 2
3 Texas-El Paso Conference USA 2
3 Duquesne Atlantic 10 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.

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