Which College Has the Most First-Round Draft Picks in NBA History?

Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard passes the ball during a game against the Tennessee Volunteers in February.
Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard passes the ball during a game against the Tennessee Volunteers in February. / Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NBA draft is right around the corner.

While the '24 draft class isn't as highly touted as years past—there is no generational talent like San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama this year, although the two top projected picks Zaccharie Risacher and Alexandre Sarr are also from France—there are a few prospects from the typical schools that are often producing first-round talents.

Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard leads that list, as he likely will be the top prospect off the board from a collegiate blue blood program. Other blue-blood products expected to go in the first round are former UConn teammates Stephon Castle and Donovan Clingan as well as Duke guard Jared McCain.

Which college has produced the most first-round draft picks in NBA history?

Entering the 2024 draft, Kentucky has seen an NBA-best 58 players taken in the first round in program history. That is three more than the Blue Devils (55) in second place, and the rival North Carolina (53) in third.

Forty of the Wildcats' 58 first-round picks played for coach John Calipari over his dominant 15-year run on Kentucky's sidelines from 2009 to '24. The Calipari era started with a bang, as the Wildcats produced five first-round picks after his first year with the Wildcats in 2010—guard John Wall, forward DeMarcus Cousins, forward Patrick Patterson, guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Daniel Orton.

Sheppard and former Wildcats teammate Rob Dillingham are expected to be taken in the first round on June 17 to round out Calipari's stint in Lexington, as the 65-year-old left Kentucky for Arkansas in April.

The Wildcats have seen at least one player be selected in the first round of the NBA draft in 14 straight years, dating back to 2010. Over half of Duke's 55 first-round picks—29 to be exact—have come since 2009.

RANK

COLLEGE

FIRST-ROUND PICKS

MOST RECENT FIRST-ROUND PICK

1

Kentucky

58

Carson Wallace (2023)

2

Duke

55

Dereck Lively II and Dariq Whitehead (2023)

3

North Carolina

53

Day'Ron Sharpe (2021)

4

UCLA

41

Jaime Jaquez Jr. (2023)

5

Kansas

36

Gradey Dick (2023)

6

Michigan

30

Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin (2023)

7

Indiana

28

Jalen Hood-Schifino (2023)

8

Arizona

26

Bennedict Mathurin and Dalen Terry (2022)

9

Ohio State

25

Brice Sensabaugh (2023)

t-10

Louisville

24

Donovan Mitchell (2017)

t-10

Syracuse

24

Tyler Lydon (2017)

12

UConn

22

Jordan Hawkins (2023)

t-13

Michigan State

21

Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr. (2018)

t-13

Notre Dame

21

Blake Wesley (2022)

15

Maryland

20

Jalen Smith (2020)

t-16

Georgia Tech

19

Josh Okogie (2018)

t-16

Texas

19

Kai Jones (2021)

t-16

Alabama

19

Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney (2023)

t-19

Tennessee

17

Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer (2021)

t-19

LSU

17

Tari Eason (2022)

t-21

NC State

16

Dennis Smith (2017)

t-21

Minnesota

16

Kris Humphries (2004)

t-21

St. John's (NY)

16

Maurice Harkless (2012)


Published |Modified
Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a staff writer and editor on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in November 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports and NBC Sports. Dierberger has a bachelor's in communication from St. John's University. In his spare time, he can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.