NBA Draft Picks by School (1949-2006)

We always believed that it would be cool if someone would take the time to break down the NBA Draft by schools since its inception, figuring there must be a loose correlation between the collegiate powers of the past sixty years and the players that the NBA finds draft-worthy. We’re not saying that a player is talented simply because he’s drafted by the NBA or that he sucks if he isn’t – rather, a player being drafted is solely an imperfect indicator that, at the time, a player’s collegiate career inspired professional scouts to believe that he could ultimately contribute to their team. But it’s also the only consistent indicator we have. To that end, we tried to determine if there was a rational way to determine how much “bang for your buck” having these talented soon-to-be NBA players on a college team’s roster matters over time.

Bang for Buck

We realize there are many ways to do this analysis and a number of these are meritorious, but for us, it always comes back to NCAA Tournament success – Appearances, Final Fours, Championships. These three measures show that you’re good enough to be invited, you’re good enough to go deep, and you’re good enough to win the title. So in looking at Table A below, you’ll see that the table is sorted by the schools with the most NBA Draft Picks in the first two rounds since 1949 (the first year of the “modern” NBA Draft), and each school also lists those three measures of success next to it (also since 1949). We considered here only the first two rounds of each draft for consistency and the likelihood of a player actually making the parent team.

Table A. NBA Draft Picks (first two rounds) From 1949-2006

Notes: this table is sorted by the NBA Draft Picks column and is limited to schools with a minimum of ten NBA Draft Picks since 1949. The yellow shading refers to the lowest ratio in that column; the light blue shading refers to the highest ratio in that column.

NBA Draft Picks by School - Ratios v.2


Talent = Success. Out of the traditional Super Six schools – UCLA, UNC, Indiana, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas – each is among the top ten schools with the most NBA Draft picks. Collectively, these six schools have accounted for over 10% (231 of 2214) of the all-time NBA draft picks, which is fairly amazing if you consider that we’re discussing nearly sixty years worth of college basketball players and hundreds of programs.

Surprises. St. John’s, Maryland and Notre Dame are in the top fourteen of NBA draft picks with 32, 29 and 26, respectively, but their historic success as programs (two F4s each for SJU and Maryland, 1 F4 for ND) is definitely a bit lower than their talent over the years might suggest. They have had numerous good players, but it hasn’t translated into NCAA Tournament success at the same level as their contemporaries on this list. At the other end of the list, Florida‘s recent ascent into the elite company is not (yet) well-represented by its number of draft picks (only 10). However, we’d expect that to change very quickly, hitting as much as 15 after this year’s draft (Horford, Brewer, Noah, perhaps Green & Richard).

Golden gOh-fers. The biggest shocker of all deserves its own paragraph. Somehow the Minnesota Golden Gophers have managed to put 24 players into the NBA Draft over the years – only fifteen other programs have put more – yet nobody would mistake Minnesota for an elite program during any era, considering its paltry nine NCAA appearances and one F4. This disconnect is exhibited by the fact that Minnesota has the highest draft pick/NCAA appearance ratio among the schools listed. Fresno St. (thanks Tark) is the only other school with a ratio greater than 2.0. We think Long Beach St. also deserves a mention, not simply due to its high ratio (1.63), but also because it has produced more draft picks than many major conference teams despite never being much of a power, even within its own conference. On the flip side of things, it was also somewhat amazing to us that Arkansas had only produced fourteen NBA picks despite a substantial amount of NCAA success (26 appearances; 4 F4s; 1 title).

Goldy Gopher

Apparently These Three Gophers Were Drafted by the NBA

Team vs. Individuals. We’re going to be careful to avoid drawing too significant of a conclusion here, but we also found it interesting that among the top ten schools, only Kentucky and Kansas had draft pick/appearance ratios under 1.0, while the other eight schools were above that marker. We wonder out loud if this shows evidence of schools that have traditionally emphasized the team concept to make up for a lack of individual talent over the years; or if UK and KU are simply an anomaly among the most talented teams. There are probably too many variables at play here to make any supportable conclusion.

F4 & Title Ratios. Reviewing the draft pick/F4 ratios, only Indiana is the outlier here, as expected schools such as Kansas, UCLA, UNC, Duke and Kentucky (along with Florida) comprise the six lowest ratios. Considering only the schools with multiple F4 appearances, St. John’s and Maryland have the highest ratios of draft picks/F4s, showing again that they’re producing a lot of good players without as much success to show for it as the others near the top of the list. Along the same lines, considering only multiple titlists, Louisville, Kansas and Duke appear to be getting the least bang for the buck from its talent, as these three schools have the highest draft pick/title ratios among multiple titlists.

Coming Next: now that we’ve looked at the overall numbers, we’ll take a snapshot look at those numbers by decade and by round to see if anything else looks interesting. View Part II (by round) and Part III (by decade) here.


16 Responses to NBA Draft Picks by School (1949-2006)

  1. don strader says:

    this chart is not entirely accurrate or not up to date.u.k. has been to 13 final fours and have 7,not 6 titles.and i believe they have been to 48 tournaments ,not 46.also,they may have had only 34 1st or 2nd round picks,but have had over 90 players that have played in the nba.check your sources.

  2. rtmsf says:

    Sorry, Don, but you need to make sure you read where it says multiple times that this table refers to the 1949-2007 era, which happens to be the same time period of the modern NBA Draft.

    During that period, the numbers we posted are correct for UK and the other schools.

  3. mac says:

    What are the numbers for the “modern” draft when taking into account that for most of those years there were 10 or more rounds of the draft. That would include people like Dan Issel who was a low round draft pick because the NBA knew he was going to the ABA,

  4. IU says:

    Indiana has 5 titles, not 4

  5. rtmsf says:

    Wow, people don’t read.

    Once again, this table only contains data from 1949.

    Therefore, IU’s titles represented are from 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987. Four titles.

    The 1940 Championship was before the NBA (and NBA Draft) existed.

  6. […] The Court had a great post this morning were they break down NBA draft picks by their colleges and my Tar Heels ranked […]

  7. supermannino says:

    So…what you’re saying is that it’s from 1949-2007? He he he…

    People don’t read.

    Nice work. Very interesting read. 13th for Syracuse…not bad.

  8. I think it will be interesting to see it broken down by years and see recently who is doing the best with talent.

  9. […] NBA Draft Picks by School (1949-2007) We always believed that it would be cool if someone would take the time to break down the NBA Draft by schools since […] […]

  10. […] School Part II Thanks to everyone who took a few moments to look at our post from yesterday – NBA Draft Picks by School (1949-2007).  There was an overwhelming response, and we appreciate all the commentary and advice, which is […]

  11. Bryant says:

    Should have mentioned that UConn currently has the most players in the NBA, with 14, but nice chart.

  12. […] at the NBA Draft broken down by school over the history of the modern NBA Draft (since 1949). In Part I, we examined the raw numbers and made a rudimentary attempt at tying NBA talent to NCAA Tournament […]

  13. mac says:

    112 Kentucky Basketball
    The following listing contains Kentucky players who
    have been on the roster of an NBA [and ABA] team
    through the 2005-06 season.
    ANDERSON, Derek – Cleveland Cavaliers (1998-99), Los Angeles Clippers (2000), San
    Antonio Spurs (2001), Portland Trail Blazers (2002-05), Houston Rockets (2006),
    Miami Heat (2006)
    BARKER, Cliff – Indianapolis Olympians (1950-52)
    BEARD, Ralph – Indianapolis Olympians (1950-51)
    BENNETT, Winston – Cleveland Cavaliers (1990-92), Miami Heat (1992)
    BIRD, Jerry – New York Knicks (1959)
    BOGANS, Keith – Orlando Magic (2004), Charlotte Bobcats (2005-06), Houston Rockets
    BOWIE, Sam – Portland Trail Blazers (1985-89), New Jersey Nets (1990-93), Los
    Angeles Lakers (1994-95)
    BURROW, Bob – Rochester Royals (1957), Minneapolis Lakers (1958)
    CHAPMAN, Rex – Charlotte Hornets (1989-92), Washington Bullets (1992-95), Miami
    Heat (1996), Phoenix Suns (1997-2000)
    CLUGGISH, Bob – New York Knicks (1947)
    CONLEY, Larry – Kentucky Colonels [ABA] (1968)
    CONNER, Jimmy Dan – Kentucky Colonels [ABA] (1976)
    COX, Johnny – Chicago Zephyrs (1963)
    DAMPIER, Louie – Kentucky Colonels [ABA] (1968-76), San Antonio Spurs (1977-79)
    DANIELS, Erik – Sacramento Kings (2005)
    DELK, Tony – Charlotte Hornets (1997-98), Golden State Warriors (1998-99),
    Sacramento Kings (2000), Phoenix Suns (2000-01), Boston Celtics (2002-03),
    Dallas Mavericks (2004), Atlanta Hawks (2005-06), Detroit Pistons (2006)
    FEIGENBAUM, George –
    FITCH, Gerald – Miami Heat (2006)
    FLYNN, Mike – Indiana Pacers (1976-78) [ABA in 1976]
    GIVENS, Jack – Atlanta Hawks (1979-80)
    GREVEY, Kevin – Washington Bullets (1976-83), Milwaukee Bucks (1984-85)
    GROZA, Alex – Indianapolis Olympians (1950-51)
    HAGAN, Cliff – St. Louis Hawks (1957-66), Dallas Chaparrals [ABA] (1968-70)
    HANSON, Reggie – Boston Celtics (1998)
    HATTON, Vernon – Cincinnati Royals (1959), Philadelphia Warriors (1959-61),
    St. Louis Hawks (1962)
    HAYES, Chuck – Houston Rockets (2006)
    HOLLAND, Joe – Indianapolis Olympians (1950-52)
    ISSEL, Dan – Kentucky Colonels [ABA] (1971-75), Denver Nuggets (1976-85)
    [ABA in 1976]
    JOHNSON, Larry – Buffalo Braves (1978)
    JONES, Wah Wah – Indianapolis Olympians (1950-52)
    KRON, Tommy – St. Louis Hawks (1967), Seattle Supersonics (1968-69), Kentucky
    Colonels [ABA] (1970)
    LOCK, Rob – Los Angeles Clippers (1989)
    MACY, Kyle – Phoenix Suns (1981-85), Chicago Bulls (1986), Indiana Pacers (1987)
    MAGLOIRE, Jamaal – Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets (2001-05), Milwaukee Bucks
    MASHBURN, Jamal – Dallas Mavericks (1994-97), Miami Heat (1997-2000),
    Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets (2001-04)
    McCARTY, Walter – New York Knicks (1997), Boston Celtics (1998-2005), Phoenix
    Suns (2005), Los Angeles Clippers (2006)
    MERCER, Ron – Boston Celtics (1998-99), Denver Nuggets (2000), Orlando Magic
    (2000), Chicago Bulls (2001-02), Indiana Pacers (2002-03), San Antonio Spurs
    (2004), New Jersey Nets (2005)
    MINNIEFIELD, Dirk – Cleveland Cavaliers (1986-87), Houston Rockets (1987), Golden
    State Warriors (1988), Boston Celtics (1988)
    MOHAMMED, Nazr – Philadelphia 76ers (1999-2001), Atlanta Hawks (2001-04), New
    York Knicks (2004-05), San Antonio Spurs (2005-06)
    NASH, Cotton – Los Angeles Lakers (1965), San Francisco Warriors (1965), Kentucky
    Colonels [ABA] (1968)
    NOEL, Paul – New York Knicks (1948-50),Rochester Royals (1951-52)
    PADGETT, Scott – Utah Jazz (2000-03), Houston Rockets (2004-05), New Jersey Nets
    PARKINSON, Jack – Indianapolis Olympians (1950)
    PAYNE, Tom – Atlanta Hawks (1972)
    POPE, Mark – Indiana Pacers (1998-99), Milwaukee Bucks (2001-02),
    Denver Nuggets (2004-05)
    PRATT, Mike – Kentucky Colonels [ABA] (1971-72)
    PRINCE, Tayshaun – Detroit Pistons (2003-06)
    RAMSEY, Frank – Boston Celtics (1955-64)
    RILEY, Pat – San Diego Rockets (1968-70), Los Angeles Lakers (1971-76), Phoenix
    Suns (1976)
    ROBEY, Rick – Indiana Pacers (1979), Boston Celtics (1979-83), Phoenix Suns (1984-
    ROLLINS, Kenny – Chicago Stags (1949-50), Boston Celtics (1953)
    SHEPPARD, Jeff – Atlanta Hawks (1999)
    SMITH, Adrian – Cincinnati Royals (1962-70), San Francisco Warriors (1970-71),
    Virginia Squires [ABA] (1972)
    STEELE, Larry – Portland Trail Blazers (1972-80)
    TINGLE, Jack – Washington Capitols (1948), Minneapolis Lakers (1949)
    TSIOROPOULOS, Lou – Boston Celtics (1957-59)
    TURNER, Wayne – Boston Celtics (2000)
    TURPIN, Melvin – Cleveland Cavaliers (1985-87), Utah Jazz (1988), Washington Bullets (1990)
    WALKER, Antoine – Boston Celtics (1997-2003, 2005), Dallas Mavericks (2004),
    Atlanta Hawks (2005), Miami Heat (2006)
    WALKER, Kenny – New York Knicks (1987-91), Washington Bullets (1994-95)
    WATSON, Bobby – Milwaukee Hawks (1955)
    WHITAKER, Lucian – Boston Celtics (1955)
    Former Wildcat
    Tayshaun Prince
    helped lead the
    Detroit Pistons to
    the 2004 NBA
    Kentucky Basketball 113
    Year Rnd Pick Name, Pos. Team
    1947 Jack Tingle Washington Capitols
    1948 Joe Holland Baltimore Bullets
    Jack Parkinson Washington Capitols
    Kenny Rollins Fort Wayne Pistons
    1949 Cliff Barker Indianapolis Olympians
    Ralph Beard Chicago Stags
    Alex Groza Indianapolis Olympians
    Wah Wah Jones Washington Capitols
    1950 Dale Barnstable Boston Celtics
    Jim Line Indianapolis Olympians
    1952 Bobby Watson Milwaukee Hawks
    Lucian Whitaker Indianapolis Olympians
    1953 Cliff Hagan Boston Celtics
    Frank Ramsey Boston Celtics
    Lou Tsioropoulos Boston Celtics
    1955 5 34 Bill Evans Rochester Royals
    1956 Jerry Bird Minneapolis Lakers
    Bob Burrow Rochester Royals
    Phil Grawemeyer Minneapolis Lakers
    1957 10 73 Jerry Calvert Philadelphia Warriors
    1958 2 10 Vernon Hatton Cincinnati Royals
    4 37 Johnny Cox New York Knicks
    15 86 Adrian Smith Cincinnati Royals
    1959 4 30 Johnny Cox New York Knicks
    1960 4 32 Sid Cohen Boston Celtics
    6 48 George Newman Boston Celtics
    7 53 Bennie Coffman Syracuse Nationals
    18 92 Don Mills Cincinnati Royals
    1961 5 45 Billy Ray Lickert Los Angeles Lakers
    5 64 Roger Newman Syracuse Nationals
    13 102 Ned Jennings New York Knicks
    1962 8 61 Larry Pursiful Chicago Zephyrs
    1964 2 12 Cotton Nash Los Angeles Lakers
    1966 3 24 Tommy Kron St. Louis Hawks
    1967 1 7 Pat Riley San Diego Rockets
    4 38 Louie Dampier Cincinnati Royals
    1968 5 60 Thad Jaracz Boston Celtics
    9 119 Cliff Berger Milwaukee Bucks
    1969 10 139 Phil Argento Los Angeles Lakers
    1970 8 122 Dan Issel Detroit Pistons
    8 130 Mike Casey Chicago Bulls
    1971 3 37 Larry Steele Portland Trail Blazers
    10 163 Jim Dinwiddie Philadelphia 76ers
    1972 6 83 Tom Parker Cleveland Cavaliers
    10 146 Kent Hollenbeck Detroit Pistons
    1973 7 107 Jim Andrews Seattle Supersonics
    1975 1 18 Kevin Grevey Washington Bullets
    2 36 Jimmy Dan Conner Phoenix Suns
    3 49 Bob Guyette K.C.-Omaha Kings
    7 113 Mike Flynn Philadelphia 76ers
    1977 2 24 Larry Johnson Buffalo Braves
    1978 1 3 Rick Robey Indiana Pacers
    1 16 Jack Givens Atlanta Hawks
    2 39 James Lee Seattle Supersonics
    3 45 Mike Phillips New Jersey Nets
    1979 1 22 Kyle Macy Phoenix Suns
    6 111 Truman Clayton Detroit Pistons
    1980 5 101 LaVon Williams Cleveland Cavaliers
    9 183 Jay Shidler Chicago Bulls
    1981 6 127 Fred Cowan Houston Rockets
    1982 7 145 Chuck Verderber Chicago Bulls
    1983 2 33 Dirk Minniefield Dallas Mavericks
    3 67 Derrick Hord Cleveland Cavaliers
    6 134 Charles Hurt Milwaukee Bucks
    1984 1 2 Sam Bowie Portland Trail Blazers
    1 6 Melvin Turpin Washington Bullets
    4 81 Dickey Beal Atlanta Hawks
    6 127 Jim Master Atlanta Hawks
    8 163 Tom Heitz Indiana Pacers
    1986 1 5 Kenny Walker New York Knicks
    5 115 Roger Harden Los Angeles Lakers
    1987 5 94 James Blackmon New Jersey Nets
    1988 1 8 Rex Chapman Charlotte Hornets
    3 51 Rob Lock Los Angeles Clippers
    3 60 Ed Davender Washington Bullets
    3 64 Winston Bennett Cleveland Cavaliers
    1993 1 4 Jamal Mashburn Dallas Mavericks
    1994 2 31 Rodney Dent Orlando Magic
    1996 1 6 Antoine Walker Boston Celtics
    1 16 Tony Delk Charlotte Hornets
    1 19 Walter McCarty New York Knicks
    2 52 Mark Pope Indiana Pacers
    1997 1 6 Ron Mercer Boston Celtics
    1 13 Derek Anderson Cleveland Cavaliers
    1998 1 29 Nazr Mohammed Utah Jazz
    1999 1 28 Scott Padgett Utah Jazz
    2000 1 19 Jamaal Magloire Charlotte Hornets
    2002 1 23 Tayshaun Prince Detroit Pistons
    2003 2 43 Keith Bogans Milwaukee Bucks
    2006 1 21 Rajon Rondo Phoenix Suns

  14. Russell Hayes says:

    Your best point is that some of these successful teams, you specifically mentioned Kentucky and Kansas, have always had more of a team concept so that the number of their high draft picks may not relate to some of the other schools. Those “team concept schools” draw more players who aren’t getting the press, but do the tasks necessary for their team to be successful. Those role players, like Chuck Hayes at Kentucky, for instance, never even got drafted, but make valuable contributions to their college and NBA teams, while certain schools value a superstar to build the team around, but have less success in the professional game. I very much enjoyed the comparrison. A very informative article. Is there a list, like the contributor before me, that you could compare all professional players from the schools without just the first two rounds? I bet the Kansas and Kentucky ratios would go up as well as some of the other “team” concept schools.

  15. […] the NBA Draft from its inception as a round-robin spectacle in 1949.  (See Draft Picks 1949-2006 by School, by Round and by Decade)  Since not a lot of the data has changed in the interim, we’re […]

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