- SI's annual list of the top 100 players in the NBA is out, and there are a few surprises among the schools represented most often. The No. 1 program at producing elite NBA talent, however, is far from a mystery.
It is a revelation almost as surprising as LeBron James being named Sports Illustrated’s No. 1 player in the NBA for the fifth consecutive season: When it comes to college basketball programs that produce top-100 talent, Kentucky laps the field.
Nine of the 100 players that made this year’s rankings were once Wildcats, led by four top-25 picks in Anthony Davis (No. 8), John Wall (No. 13), Karl-Anthony Towns (No. 14) and DeMarcus Cousins (No. 23). Removing the 20 players on the list that entered the NBA straight out of high school or through an international league, a stunning 11.25% of the members of the Top 100 who played college ball at did so for John Calipari in Lexington. Two other players who passed through Kentucky—Enes Kanter (who never suited up for the Wildcats because of eligibility concerns) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft)—landed on this year’s Top 100 Snubs list, as did another Kentucky alum, Rajon Rondo, who played under Tubby Smith.
There aren’t many surprises among the schools at the top of the list after Kentucky. Texas (Kevin Durant) and UCLA (Russell Westbrook) both landed alums above Davis in this year’s top 10, and a handful of the sport’s other traditional powers check in right behind them with three representatives.
Think your school should have landed more players on the list? Read the thinking behind this year’s complete Top 100 from The Crossover’s Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney here and explore the full breakdown of college representation below.
SI's Top 100 players by college
Kentucky: 9 (Anthony Davis, John Wall, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Nerlens Noel, Julius Randle, Patrick Patterson)
Texas: 5 (Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tristan Thompson, Avery Bradley, Myles Turner)
UCLA: 4 (Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Jrue Holiday, Trevor Ariza)
Wake Forest: 3 (Chris Paul, Jeff Teague, James Johnson)
USC: 3 (DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Taj Gibson)
North Carolina: 3 (Harrison Barnes, Danny Green, Marvin Williams)
Marquette: 3 (Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Dwyane Wade)
Kansas: 3 (Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Markieff Morris)
Indiana: 3 (Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Eric Gordon)
Duke: 3 (Kyrie Irving, J.J. Redick, Rodney Hood)
Texas A&M: 2 (DeAndre Jordan, Khris Middleton)
Stanford: 2 (Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez)
Ohio State: 2 (Mike Conley, D'Angelo Russell)
Michigan State: 2 (Draymond Green, Gary Harris)
Georgetown: 2 (Otto Porter, Greg Monroe)
Florida: 2 (Al Horford, Bradley Beal)
Connecticut: 2 (Kemba Walker, Andre Drummond)
Weber State: 1
Washington State: 1
Tennessee State: 1
San Diego State: 1
Saint Mary’s: 1
Louisiana Tech: 1
Georgia Tech: 1
Fresno State: 1
Boston College: 1
Arizona State: 1
High school: 3