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Ranking The Top 5 College Basketball Programs By NBA Talent

Devin Booker and Anthony Davis are both from top ranked Kentucky.

In honor of March Madness starting this week let’s rank some top college basketball programs based on their current NBA talent. Even with alternative options becoming more popular college basketball produces a majority of NBA players. A school’s raw number of players and talent quality were factored into this list. Without further ado let’s count down the list in reverse order.

Ranking The Top 5 College Basketball Programs By NBA Talent

Honorable Mentions: Kansas, Texas, Arizona, USC, UNC

5. Villanova

Total Players: 10

Notable Names: Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges

Villanova has quickly become one of the best NBA schools. Their 2018 championship team is a massive factor in this success. Brunson, Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo have all teamed up with the Knicks. With Bridges close by in Brooklyn. Outside of the 2018 squad Saddiq Bey and Kyle Lowry are important rotational players. Rockets wing Cam Whitmore is an intriguing rookie with tons of upside. Seven of Villonova’s ten NBA players are in rotations. That’s more than other schools that have a similar amount of NBA players. Ultimately this depth gives Nova the edge of more top-heavy schools.

4. Gonzaga

Total Players: 10

Notable Names: Domantas Sabonis, Chet Holmgren, Jalen Suggs

Gonzaga is a mid-major success story and one of the best programs in college basketball. Impressively their 10 NBA players are tied for the fifth most out of all schools. Both Sabonis and Holmgren are All-Star caliber players. Sabonis is one of the league’s more underrated players and Chet is one of the league’s brightest young stars. Suggs is also one of the best role players league-wide. Gonzaga has quality role players throughout the league. Including Andrew Nembhard, Rui Hachimura, and Kelly Olynyk. Nine out of Gonzaga’s ten active players are in NBA rotations. The one expectation is Julian Strawther who’s a rookie on the Nuggets and still has plenty of potential. Similar to Villanova Gonzaga’s number of quality NBA players gives them a boost in these rankings.


Total Players: 16

Notable Names: Jrue Holiday, Zach LaVine, Russell WestbrookJaime Jaquez Jr

UCLA’s 16 active players is the third most among all schools. Sure their talent pool would be more impressive a few years ago and there is a lack of true stars. But this is still a very solid group for UCLA. Holiday and LaVine are not far removed from their All-Star seasons. Jaquez is a budding young star and one of the best rookies. Westbrook and Norman Powell are two of the league’s best sixth men and play vital roles for the Clippers. Kyle Anderson, Kevin Love, and Kevon Looney are all solid rotation players. UCLA’s depth and consistent ability to produce NBA talent secures them a spot on this list.

2. Duke

Total Players: 25

Notable Names: Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Zion Williamson, Paolo Banchero, Brandon Ingram

There is a significant gap between second-ranked Duke and third-ranked UCLA. The top two teams on the list are in a tier of their own while spots three through five could even be left off the list. Regardless, Duke’s NBA talent is incredibly impressive. This talent pool includes five players All-Stars, three number-one overall picks, and seven top-three picks. Duke pairs their star-level talent with intriguing young players and solid players across the league. Including Jalen Johnson, RJ Barrett, Tyus Jones and Dereck Lively. Overall this combination filled with the sheer number of NBA players earns Duke a top-two spot.

1. Kentucky

Total Players: 28

Notable Names: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Anthony Davis, Devin Booker, Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox

It should be no surprise that Kentucky ranks one on this list. For the past decade, they have been the top NBA factory. Consistently producing top talent each year with elite guards being their signature. The notable names listed are five of the league’s top 25 players with three top-ten-level players. However, this omits talented players such as Tyrese Maxey, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jamal Murray, and Julius Randle. Impressively Kentucky had seven All-Stars this year making up nearly one-third of the field. Furthermore, Kentucky has a plethora of quality role players and talented young players with upside. Ultimately Kentucky is as good as it gets in terms of consistently producing top NBA talent.




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