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.
The 2022 NBA draft is set for Thursday, June 23. Last year, the Detroit Pistons led off the night drafting Oklahoma State sensation Cade Cunningham as the first overall pick. It’s the highest selection in Cowboy basketball history and the first time since Bob Fenimore in 1947 that an Oklahoma State athlete went No. 1 overall in a professional draft.
In 2020, 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 2022 draft:
College basketball teams with the most NBA first-round draft picks
|11||Ohio State||Big Ten||23|
|12||Michigan State||Big Ten||21|
|20||North Carolina State||ACC||16|
|20||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, 70 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 up.
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 275 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.