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Colleges On NBA Rosters

With the NBA season starting on Sunday, and with most college programs off this weekend, this is a perfect time to look at which college programs have produced the most pros. Using opening day rosters on NBA.com, the first table shows the number of alumni that hail from the schools in each conference. I also list the number of international players (without any US college experience) and the number of high school players that went straight to the pros. I also compare these numbers to opening day last season.

Players on Opening Day Rosters

Conference

This Year

Last Year

ACC

61

56

Pac-12

50

48

International (with no US College)

48

59

Big East

46

54

SEC

45

40

Big 12

43

41

High School

31

31

Big 10

27

29

A10

13

11

CUSA

9

12

MWC

9

10

WAC

8

9

WCC

6

5

CAA

5

5

Sun Belt

4

5

Horizon

4

2

MVC

3

3

Southern

3

2

Other

14

14

Players per Team

14.3

14.5

A few notes: 

- There was only one change in the “high school to pro” players on rosters from last year to this year. J.R. Smith is stuck over in China and Jeremy Tyler is on an opening day roster this season.

- The number of international players in the NBA has declined this off-season. I haven’t done a full investigation, but I suspect international players were more likely to sign with foreign clubs during the lockout.

- There were some conferences to gain from the decline in the number of international players. In particular, the ACC, SEC, and Big 12 now have more alumni in the NBA. The Big 12’s increase in alumni is impressive when you consider the league lost two teams this off-season.  Of course, when you remember the league lost Colorado and Nebraska, maybe it is obvious why that didn’t matter much.

- The Southern Conference now has three players in the NBA. Charleston’s Andrew Goudelock (now playing for the Lakers) doesn’t have nearly the expectations of Davidson’s Stephen Curry or Western Carolina’s Kevin Martin, but he was a fabulous scorer in college.

- I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m shocked there aren’t more MAC players in the NBA. This league once generated players like Gary Trent and Wally Szczerbiak, but not anymore. The SWAC actually has more players in the NBA than the MAC right now at two to one.

- Overall, there were seven fewer players on opening day rosters this year, dropping the average opening day roster from 14.5 players to 14.3 players. 

Here is a team by team look at the player’s former colleges: 

Players on Opening Day Rosters

College Team

This Year

Last Year

Duke

16

13

Kentucky

15

13

UCLA

15

14

Texas

13

10

Kansas

12

12

North Carolina

12

12

Connecticut

11

11

Florida

10

9

Arizona

10

10

Georgia Tech

7

7

Wake Forest

7

8

LSU

6

7

USC

6

5

Ohio St.

6

7

Stanford

5

6

Florida St.

5

4

Marquette

5

4

Syracuse

5

7

Purdue

5

3

Georgia

4

0

Washington

4

5

Oklahoma St.

4

4

Boston College

4

2

Maryland

4

4

Louisville

4

4

Memphis

4

7

Nevada

4

4

Alabama

3

4

Arkansas

3

3

Missouri

3

2

Georgetown

3

4

Notre Dame

3

3

Pittsburgh

3

3

Villanova

3

4

Indiana

3

3

Michigan

3

3

Michigan St.

3

6

Wisconsin

3

1

Xavier

3

4

UNLV

3

4

Gonzaga

3

2

Tennessee, Arizona St., California, Colorado, Utah, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Iowa St., Baylor, Kansas St., Miami (FL), NC State, Providence, Cincinnati, Illinois, UMass, St. Joe's, UTEP, New Mexico, Fresno St., VCU, Butler, Western Kentucky, and Creighton also each had two player on the opening rosters this year.

If you had to define college basketball’s most prestigious programs right now, having 10 players in the NBA seems like a nice cut-off.  You’d miss Syracuse and a number of successful Big Ten programs, but the teams at the top of this list clearly have a ton of college basketball tradition.

Duke had a ridiculous 16 players on opening day NBA rosters this season. From the “wait he’s still playing in the NBA” Grant Hill to the newcomer Kyrie Irving, those 16 players are spread out between 13 different teams:

Gerald Henderson

Charlotte

Corey Maggette

Charlotte

Carlos Boozer

Chicago

Luol Deng

Chicago

Kyrie Irving

Cleveland

Dahntay Jones

Indiana

Josh McRoberts

LA Lakers

Shane Battier

Miami

Mike Dunleavy

Milwaukee

Shelden Williams

New Jersey

Lance Thomas

New Orleans

Chris Duhon

Orlando

J.J. Redick

Orlando

Elton Brand

Philadelphia

Grant Hill

Phoenix

Nolan Smith

Portland

So for everyone that says Mike Krzyzewski has started recruiting 4-year college players and is ignoring NBA level talent, that is not completely true. Personally, I’d still take the all-Texas squad (because of Kevin Durant), but Kentucky has a ton of players who have superstar potential, and Connecticut might have the most balanced NBA team.

 

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