NBA Draft Picks by School

When it comes to producing NBA Draft picks, a few schools may come to mind as the most efficient (Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas), but who really are the best NBA-talent producing schools? Using only the 2-round era of the NBA Draft (1989-2016), I am summarizing draft picks by school, round, and year selected. The usual suspects are at the top, but the next tier aren’t necessarily as easy to identify. Let’s look at the entire 2-round era, as well as the most recent 4 years.

Since 1989, schools with 10 or more drafted players:

School Round 1 Round 2 Total
University of Kentucky 31 12 43
Duke University 30 12 42
University of Arizona 19 18 37
University of North Carolina 28 8 36
University of California, Los Angeles 18 18 36
University of Kansas 23 12 35
University of Connecticut 19 11 30
Syracuse University 17 11 28
Georgia Institute of Technology 16 7 23
University of Michigan 15 8 23
University of Texas at Austin 14 9 23
Michigan State University 11 12 23
University of Maryland 9 12 21
University of Louisville 13 6 19
University of Florida 10 9 19
Louisiana State University 9 10 19
Indiana University 11 5 16
Stanford University 11 5 16
University of Memphis 9 7 16
Florida State University 9 7 16
Georgetown University 9 6 15
Ohio State University 9 6 15
University of Washington 9 6 15
Providence College 6 9 15
University of Oklahoma 4 11 15
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 8 6 14
University of Missouri 7 7 14
University of California 6 8 14
University of Cincinnati 5 9 14
University of Nevada, Las Vegas 10 3 13
Iowa State University 7 6 13
University of Alabama 7 6 13
Oklahoma State University 8 4 12
University of Southern California 7 5 12
Marquette University 4 8 12
University of Georgia 4 8 12
University of Iowa 4 8 12
University of Arkansas 7 4 11
St. John’s University 6 5 11
North Carolina State University 6 5 11
Villanova University 5 6 11
Xavier University 5 6 11
Wake Forest University 8 2 10
University of Minnesota 7 3 10
University of Notre Dame 6 4 10
University of Oregon 5 5 10
Vanderbilt University 4 6 10
California State University, Fresno 4 6 10
University of Pittsburgh 3 7 10
University of Tennessee 3 7 10
Purdue University 2 8 10

Arizona finds itself amongst college basketball royalty, but the real surprises have to be Georgia Tech and Texas, the only two schools in the top 15 without a national title in the 2 round era (Michigan barely avoids this caveat with their title in 1989).

Over the last 4 years, the results get a little more interesting. The following list shows all schools who had multiple draft picks in the last 4 years:

School Round 1 Round 2 Total
University of Kentucky 10 3 13
Duke University 7 1 8
Syracuse University 4 3 7
University of Michigan 5 1 6
University of California, Los Angeles 5 1 6
University of Kansas 4 2 6
University of Arizona 4 2 6
University of Louisville 2 4 6
University of North Carolina 3 2 5
Michigan State University 3 2 5
University of Nevada, Las Vegas 2 2 4
Louisiana State University 2 2 4
University of Washington 3 3
Indiana University 3 3
University of Maryland 1 2 3
Baylor University 1 2 3
University of Notre Dame 1 2 3
University of Oklahoma 1 2 3
Providence College 1 2 3
University of Virginia 1 2 3
Stanford University 1 2 3
University of California 1 2 3
University of Connecticut 1 2 3
University of Tennessee 3 3
University of Utah 2 2
Vanderbilt University 2 2
University of Wisconsin 2 2
Gonzaga University 2 2
University of Pittsburgh 1 1 2
North Carolina State University 1 1 2
Ohio State University 1 1 2
University of New Mexico 1 1 2
Murray State University 1 1 2
Oklahoma State University 1 1 2
University of Colorado 1 1 2
University of Iowa 2 2
University of Missouri 2 2
University of Oregon 2 2
Iowa State University 2 2
San Diego State University 2 2

Once again, Kentucky and Duke lead the way. However the next 3 may be a bit surprising. Syracuse, Michigan, and UCLA (the latter two with 5 first rounders each) round out the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately top 5. Recruits looking at schools that put their players in the league should take notice of what’s going on in Syracuse, Ann Arbor, and Los Angeles (if there’s no room for them in Lexington or Durham, that is).

Finally, the models of consistency. Schools that have sent a player to the draft at least half of the years of the 2-round era (past 28 years):

School Years with a player drafted
Duke University 23
University of Arizona 22
University of California, Los Angeles 22
University of Kansas 21
University of North Carolina 20
Syracuse University 20
University of Kentucky 19
University of Connecticut 19
Georgia Institute of Technology 18
Louisiana State University 16
Michigan State University 15
University of Texas at Austin 15
University of Maryland 15
University of Michigan 14
Florida State University 14

Of these schools, only Georgia Tech, LSU, Texas, and Florida State have not won a national championship.

Complete data for this analysis can be found here.

 

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NCAA 6th year of eligibility

NCAA 6th Year Database is now available

*UPDATE* The NCAA has granted Ed Davis a 6th year. After the ruling, I wrote a follow-up article that can be found here

NCAA rules are notoriously difficult to navigate. Determining whether a player may be approved for a 6th year (instead of the standard 5 year limit) to complete their 4 years of eligibility is one of the murkier such rules. It is rare that a student-athlete qualifies for a 6th year, so this year’s scenario where Michigan State’s football team had 3 players in consideration for such extended eligibility completion is an extreme outlier.

The rule interpretation in the NCAA Rulebook, as of April 2016 (http://www.ncaapublications.com/p-4433-2015-2016-ncaa-division-i-manual-april-version.aspx) states the following (relevant portions in bold):

12.8.1.5 Five-Year Rule Waiver. The Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, or its designated committee,
by a two-thirds majority of its members present and voting, may approve waivers of the five-year rule as
it deems appropriate. (Revised: 7/30/10, 7/31/14)
12.8.1.5.1 Waiver Criteria. A waiver of the five-year period of eligibility is designed to provide a studentathlete
with the opportunity to participate in four seasons of intercollegiate competition within a five-year
period. This waiver may be granted, based upon objective evidence, for reasons that are beyond the control
of the student-athlete or the institution, which deprive the student-athlete of the opportunity to participate
for more than one season in his or her sport within the five-year period. The Committee on Student-Athlete
Reinstatement reserves the right to review requests that do not meet the more-than-one-year criteria detailed
2015-16 Division I – April
12
AMATEURISM AND
ATHLETICS ELIGIBILITY
79
in this bylaw for circumstances of extraordinary or extreme hardship. A student-athlete who has exhausted
his or her five years of eligibility may continue to practice (but not compete) for a maximum of 30 consecutive
calendar days, provided the student-athlete’s institution has submitted a waiver request. The studentathlete
may not commence practice until the institution has filed such a request. Further, if such a request
is denied prior to exhausting the 30-day practice period, the student-athlete must cease all practice activities
upon the institution’s notification of the denial. (Revised: 4/17/91, 1/11/94, 8/10/94, 10/12/95, 8/12/97,
4/27/00, 1/9/06, 7/30/10, 7/31/14)
12.8.1.5.1.1 Circumstances Beyond Control. Circumstances considered to be beyond the control
of the student-athlete or the institution and do not cause a participation opportunity to be used
shall include, but are not limited to, the following: (Adopted: 8/10/94, Revised: 10/12/95, 7/30/10,
7/31/14)
(a) Situations clearly supported by contemporaneous medical documentation, which states that a
student-athlete is unable to participate in intercollegiate competition as a result of incapacitating
physical or mental circumstances;
(b) The student-athlete is unable to participate in intercollegiate athletics as a result of a life-threatening
or incapacitating injury or illness suffered by a member of the student-athlete’s immediate
family, which clearly is supported by contemporaneous medical documentation;
(c) Reliance by the student-athlete upon written, contemporaneous, clearly erroneous academic
advice provided to the student-athlete from a specific academic authority from a collegiate institution
regarding the academic status of the student-athlete or prospective student-athlete, which
directly leads to that individual not being eligible to participate and, but for the clearly erroneous
advice, the student-athlete would have established eligibility for intercollegiate competition;
(d) Natural disasters (e.g., earthquake, flood); and
(e) Extreme financial difficulties as a result of a specific event (e.g., layoff, death in the family)
experienced by the student-athlete or by an individual upon whom the student-athlete is legally
dependent, which prohibit the student-athlete from participating in intercollegiate athletics.
These circumstances must be clearly supported by objective documentation (e.g., decree of
bankruptcy, proof of termination) and must be beyond the control of the student-athlete or the
individual upon whom the student-athlete is legally dependent.
12.8.1.5.1.2 Circumstances Within Control. Circumstances that are considered to be within the
control of the student-athlete or the institution and cause a participation opportunity to be used include,
but are not limited to, the following: (Adopted: 8/10/94, Revised: 10/12/95, 10/9/96, 7/30/10,
7/31/14)
(a) A student-athlete’s decision to attend an institution that does not sponsor his/her sport, or decides
not to participate at an institution that does sponsor his/her sport;
(b) An inability to participate due to failure to meet institutional/conference or NCAA academic
requirements, or disciplinary reasons or incarceration culminating in or resulting from a conviction;
(c) Reliance by a student-athlete upon misinformation from a coaching staff member;
(d) Redshirt year;
(e) An inability to participate as a result of a transfer year in residence or fulfilling a condition for
restoration of eligibility; and
(f ) A student-athlete’s lack of understanding regarding the specific starting date of his or her fiveyear
period of eligibility.

This looks essentially identical to the interpretation by MSU’s Compliance department in a 2008 online Q&A feature (https://msu.edu/user/msuncaa/questionoftheweek.htm):

Question: How does an athlete get a sixth year of eligibility?
Answer: In general, an athlete may not engage in more the four season of competition within a five-year window. A student-athlete’s five-year clock begins when he/she initially registers in a regular term of an academic year for a minimum full-time program of studies and attends the student’s first day of classes. A student-athlete may be granted a sixth year of eligibility if he/she is unable to participate in his/her sport for more than one season within the five-year period due to circumstances beyond the control of the student-athlete.

Circumstances considered beyond the control of the student-athlete include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Situations clearly supported by contemporaneous medical documentation, which states that a student-athlete is unable to participate in intercollegiate competition as a result of incapacitating physical or mental circumstances;
2. The student-athlete is unable to participate in intercollegiate athletics as a result of a life-threatening or incapacitating injury or illness suffered by a member of the student-athlete’s immediate family, which clearly is supported by contemporaneous medical documentation;
3. Reliance by the student-athlete upon written, contemporaneous, clearly erroneous academic advice provided to the student-athlete from a specific academic authority from a collegiate institution regarding the academic status of the student-athlete or prospective student-athlete, which directly leads to that individual not being eligible to participate and, but for the clearly erroneous advice, the student-athlete would have established eligibility for intercollegiate competition;
4. Natural disasters (e.g., flood, earthquake); and
5. Extreme financial difficulties as a result of a specific event (e.g., layoff, death in the family) experienced by the student-athlete or by an individual upon whom the student-athlete is legally dependent, which prohibit the student-athlete from participating in intercollegiate athletics. These circumstances must be clearly supported by objective documentation and must be beyond the control of the student-athlete or the individual upon whom the student-athlete is legally dependent.

Circumstances considered to be within the control of the student-athlete or the institution include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. A student-athlete’s decision to attend an institution that does not sponsor his/her sport, or decides not to participate at the institution that does sponsor his/her sport;
2. An inability to participate due to failure to meet institutional/conference or NCAA academic requirements, or disciplinary reasons or incarceration culminating in or resulting from a conviction;
3. Reliance by a student-athlete upon misinformation from a coaching staff member;
4. Redshirt year;
5. An inability to participate as a result of a transfer year in residence or fulfilling a condition for restoration of eligibility; and
6. A student-athlete’s lack of understanding regarding the specific starting date of his/her five-year period of eligibility.

Fast forward to their 2015 interpretation, and the wording has been translated into layman’s terms: (http://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state/spartans/2015/11/24/michigan-state-football-ed-davis/76328610/):

Smith said a player must be granted two medical hardships to qualify. That means two seasons ended by injury, and the player in question must be injured in the first half of the season and not participate in more than 30% of the season or three games, whichever is greater.

She said the only thing taken into account is game competition. So the fact that Davis came back from knee and shoulder injuries to practice as a redshirt freshman in 2011 should not hurt his cause.

This means that the injury must be the reason that a player does not compete for the better part of two separate seasons; a non-medical redshirt season cannot count as part of these two seasons.

Let’s take a look at the timeline of the 3 players in question; Damon Knox (who has already decided not to return for a 6th season), Brandon Clemons (who was recently approved for a 6th season), and Ed Davis (who will be eligible to apply for a 6th season upon graduation later this summer).

2011_August_Davis_healthy
August 2011 fall camp, multiple confirmations Davis healthy

Dress list for Youngstown St game on September 2, 2011; #43 Davis, #87 Clemons, #93 Knox listed: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/msu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/release/release_20110830aaa.pdf

Clemons dressed in 2011 opener vs YSU
Clemons #87 at Youngstown State game

Above photo pulled from this gallery (3rd picture listed): http://www.msuspartans.com/view.gal?id=100670

Dress list for Florida Atlantic game on September 10, 2011; #43 Davis, #93 Knox listed (#87 Clemons not listed): http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/msu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/release/release_20110906aaa.pdf

Dress list for Notre Dame road game on September 17, 2011; none of the 3 players are listed (road games have smaller dress lists than home games, limits vary by host conference/team): http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/msu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/release/release_20110913aaa.pdf

Dress list for Central Michigan game on September 24, 2011; #43 Davis, #87 Clemons, #93 Knox listed: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/msu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/release/release_20110920aaa.pdf

Participation list for Central Michigan (#87 Clemons included): http://www.msuspartans.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/2011-2012/cmu-msu.html#GAME.PRE

2011_MSU_FAU_Hondo_tweet_Clemons_dressed
September 24, 2011 MSU vs CMU. Confirming Clemons dressed this day but not for FAU game two weeks prior

Dress list for Michigan game on October 15, 2011; #43 Davis, #87 Clemons, #93 Knox listed: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/msu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/release/release_20111012aaa.pdf

2011_MSU_Mich_Davis_Knox
October 15, 2011 MSU vs Michigan, Davis #43 center, Clemons #87 lower right

Dress list for Wisconsin game on October 22, 2011; #43 Davis, #87 Clemons, #93 Knox listed: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/msu/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/release/release_20111018aaa.pdf

2011_MSU_Wisc_Clemons87
October 22, 2011 MSU vs Wisconsin, Clemons #87 lower right
2011_MSU_Wisc_Clemons87zoom
October 22, 2011 MSU vs Wisconsin, Clemons #87 center
2011_MSU_Wisc_Knox93
October 22, 2011 MSU vs Wisconsin, Knox #93
2011_B1G_CG_Davis_back
December 3, 2011 Big Ten Championship, Davis lower right #43
2011_B1G_CG_Davis_face
December 3, 2011 Big Ten Championship, Davis #43
2012_Outback_Davis_background
January 1, 2012 Outback Bowl, Davis #43 in background
2012_Outback_Davis_left_Clemons_right_shorts
January 1, 2012 Outback Bowl, Davis #43 and Knox #93 on left in full pads, Clemons #87 on right in shorts and no pads
2012_Outback_Davis_middle
January 1, 2012 Outback Bowl, Davis #43

Brandon Clemons (who wore #87 as a freshman when was a defensive lineman; later switched to offensive line and #64) dressed in 4 games (played in one of them) and is in street clothes by the end of the 2011 season, suggesting he was out with an injury by that point. A medical redshirt in 2011 seems questionable for him. If he was injured for the majority of the year, why was he in uniform in September and October?

Damon Knox dressed in 6 games, but has since decided not to pursue a 6th year of eligibility. A medical redshirt seemed unlikely, anyway.

Ed Davis played in fall camp in August, and dressed for games in September, October, December, and January. Is that really a medical redshirt qualifier? Seems a lot more like a standard, true-freshman redshirt, which would make him ineligible for a 6th year.