Which NCAA program is best at producing NBA stars?
Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you are a high school basketball phenom (if you are REALLY a high school basketball phenom, stop surfing the net and go practice some free throws or something). Like most young players, you have aspirations of playing in the NBA one day, so obviously you want to pick a college to attend that will maximize your chances at becoming a NBA star in the near future.
What school do you choose?
With 347 NCAA Division I programs to select from, the choice are endless.
Or are they?
The truth of the matter is there are only a handful of schools that pump out NBA stars on a consistent basis. So what schools are these, you ask? We’ve got the answers. Remember that we’re not concerned with schools that supply the NBA with a high quantity of players; rather we are more concerned with the quality of these players. And we only care about the present, so we’re only interested in current NBA players. So, with that in mind, we came up with this handy scoring system to rank players to determine which college is currently best at producing NBA “stars”:
Multiple MVP awards = 10
MVP = 9
Multiple All-NBA selections = 8
All-NBA = 7
Multiple All-Star = 6
Multiple DPOY awards = 5
All-Star = 4
DPOY = 3
Multiple All-Defensive selections = 2
All-Def/ROY/6th Man winner = 1
So, if a player has won multiple MVP awards (Shaq, Nash, etc.) he’s assigned 10 points. If he’s won one MVP (including Finals MVP) he’s given nine points, and so on. Then we went through all current players in the League, assigned the appropriate point total to them, assigned them to the college they attended, and voila — we have the definitive ranking of which school is worthy of the title “Superstar U”.
Honorable mention: Santa Clara, LSU, Kansas, Kentucky
5) North Carolina – 14 points
You would expect mighty North Carolina to be much higher on this list, but in reality things have dried up for them as of late (at least in terms of producing NBA stars). With high draft picks such as Marvin Williams and Brandan Wright not becoming stars (yet) like had been projected for them, the Tar Heels have gone over a decade since they last produced a star player (brother-in-laws Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison entered the NBA in 1999). There is hope, however, as current Heels John Henson and Harrison Barnes are projected to be lottery picks next June.
4) Alabama – 15 points
Current NBA stars: Gerald Wallace, Mo Williams, Antonio McDyess
Future stars: JaMychal Green (late first round, 2011)
Here is the shocker of all shockers — Alabama, a “football school”, is currently the fourth-best program at producing NBA talent. Better than North Carolina. And UCLA. And Kansas. And Kentucky. Crazy, but it’s true. The Crimson Tide might have only sent 24 players to the NBA in its history, but their current batch of pros have had great careers. However, once Antonio McDyess retires their ranking is going to drop, so they’ll need Gerald Wallace to continue his rise to the upper reaches of NBA stardom and/or current Big Man on Campus, JaMychal Green, to make a big splash in the League.
2) tie – Connecticut – 22 points
Current NBA stars: Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Caron Butler, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon
Future stars: Kemba Walker (lottery pick, 2011)
No surprise here, as the UConn Huskies have long seemingly had a pipeline from their campus in Storrs to the NBA, at least recently (of their 29 players who have gone to the NBA, almost half are still currently playing). And considering how high in the draft both Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon went, if they had played to the full potential some had seen in them as NBA pros, UConn’s ranking on the list would be even higher. The past couple of years have been rather quiet, though, with only Stanley Robinson getting drafted last year (and late in the draft, at that) and current point guard Kemba Walker considered a real NBA prospect on the current roster. Is the pipeline drying up?
2) tie – Wake Forest – 22 points
Current NBA stars: Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, Josh Howard
Future stars: Tony Woods (late first round, 2011)
There are stars, and then there’s the level of stars Wake Forest has produced recently. In Tim Duncan and Chris Paul, the Demon Deacons have supplied the NBA with two of the best players in recent history. Also, they should both become the first NBA Hall-of-Famers to call Wake Forest their former home. But Paul better stick around and dominate the NBA for decades yet, because currently Wake Forest has no future NBA stars roaming its campus.
1) Duke – 24 points
Current NBA stars: Grant Hill, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Shane Battier
Future stars: Kyrie Irving (top 10, 2011), Mason Plumlee (top 10, 2011), Kyle Singler (mid-first round, 2011), Nolan Smith (late first round, 2011)
Duke makes it three Atlantic Coast Conference schools (and three North Carolina schools) to crack the top five. It’s no great shock that the reigning NCAA champ tops the list, as the Blue Devils were sending players to the big leagues even before Coach K stepped on campus. And the cupboard is nowhere near being bare, as the current roster has at least four guys who will someday step onto a NBA court. What’s more, top high school player Austin Rivers (and maybe Quincy Miller) has committed to Duke, which means the Blue Devils look to be an impact program — both in the NCAA and the NBA — for years to come.