Since the NBA Draft’s inception in 1947, around 1,500 players have been drafted in the first round. About 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.
We’ll see which schools add to their collection of first-round picks when the 2021 NBA draft starts at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 29. Coverage is on ABC, ESPN and ESPN+.
Last year, Georgia star Anthony Edwards went No. 1 overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Edwards was the first player from UGA to go No. 1 overall and the Bulldogs’ ninth first-round pick.
Here’s how the top 20 schools stack up going into the 2021 draft:
College basketball teams with the most NBA first-round draft picks
|11||Ohio State||Big Ten||23|
|12||Michigan State||Big Ten||21|
|18||North Carolina State||ACC||16|
|18||St. John’s (NY)||Big East||16|
No big surprises there. The top 10 schools account for more than half of the NCAA championships alone.
Since 1947, 69 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 Duke, which has seen four.
Duke’s four are Art Heyman (1963, New York Knicks), Elton Brand (1999, Chicago Bulls), Kyrie Irving (2011, Cleveland Cavaliers) and Zion Williamson (2019, New Orleans Pelicans).
In all, 46 schools have had at least one No. 1 pick taken.
Here’s how the top schools rank:
|Rank||College||Conference||No. 1 overall picks|
|3||Kansas State||Big 12||2|
|3||West Virginia||Big 12||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.
Through 2020, the Atlantic Coast Conference has had an impressive 271 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.