NCAA in the NBA Playoffs: Which schools are represented most?
With the NBA Playoffs in full swing, we’re seeing multiple former March Madness heroes show out on the next level.
Let’s take a look at which schools have the most players vying for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
*Note: Some of these players are injured but are still included in this exercise
North Carolina Tar Heels: 9
Tyler Zeller (Celtics), John Henson (Bucks), James Michael McAdoo (Warriors), Danny Green (Spurs), Brice Johnson (Clippers), Raymond Felton (Clippers), Vince Carter (Grizzlies), Brandan Wright (Grizzlies), Ed Davis (Blazers)
Fresh off of a national championship, the Tar Heels are well-represented in these playoffs, though they don’t boast as much star power as some of the schools below.
Carter, a multi-time All-Star who has become a valuable role player in Memphis as he’s aged, is the most noteworthy of the bunch. Green is an NBA champion who has transformed into one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.
Duke Blue Devils: 9
Rodney Hood (Jazz), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Dahntay Jones (Cavaliers), Mike Dunleavy (Hawks), Ryan Kelly (Hawks), Jabari Parker (Bucks), J.J. Redick (Clippers), Austin Rivers (Clippers), Kyle Singler (Thunder)
Irving’s time in Durham was short-lived, but he’s doing for the Cavaliers what he did for the Blue Devils: score at will and bury clutch shots. Irving will look to win his second straight NBA title this postseason.
Redick was the best college player of this group, and he’s become one of the best role players in the NBA next to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and company. Duke’s all-time leading scorer is one of the most accurate 3-point shooters in the league.
UCLA Bruins: 8
Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Kevin Love (Cavaliers), Trevor Ariza (Rockets), Kevon Looney (Warriors), Matt Barnes (Warriors), Kyle Anderson (Spurs), Norman Powell (Raptors), Luc Mbah a Moute (Clippers)
Westbrook and Love, who were excellent as college teammates, have become even better in the NBA. Westbrook is a triple-double machine who has a good chance to win the MVP this season. Like Irving, the sweet-shooting Love could add another ring to his collection.
Ariza, Barnes and Powell are all valuable 3-and-D guys, and Mbah a Moute is one of the more underrated perimeter stoppers in the league. The Bruins have produced a vast array of NBA talent.
Texas Longhorns: 8
Kevin Durant (Warriors), Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers), Avery Bradley (Celtics), P.J. Tucker (Raptors), Myles Turner (Pacers), Cory Joseph (Raptors), LaMarcus Adlridge (Spurs), Isaiah Taylor (Rockets)
Texas is an under-the-radar hotbed for NBA talent. Durant is one of the five best players in the world. Thompson is a vital cog on the reigning NBA champions. Turner is one of the brightest young stars in the league. Aldridge is a multi-time All-Star.
The Longhorns have produced quality role players, too — Bradley and Tucker are relentless defenders, just like they were in college. Texas likely has the biggest impact on the playoffs of any school.
Michigan State Spartans: 6
Denzel Valentine (Bulls), Bryn Forbes (Spurs), Draymond Green (Warriors), Alan Anderson (Clippers), Zach Randolph (Grizzlies), Deyonta Davis (Grizzlies)
Draymond Green is Tom Izzo’s greatest NBA success story — an All-NBA performer that arrived in East Lansing as an unheralded recruit who needed to get in shape. He was a four-year Spartan who was excellent in college. He's even better as a pro.
Randolph, still chugging along at age 35, has had a remarkable career. Valentine, Forbes and Davis were teammates on the No. 2 seed that was upset by Middle Tennessee in the 2016 NCAA tournament.
Kentucky Wildcats: 6
Rajon Rondo (Bulls), John Wall (Wizards), Patrick Patterson (Raptors), James Young (Celtics), Trey Lyles (Jazz), Andrew Harrison (Grizzlies)
There aren’t as many ex-Wildcats as you’d expect in the playoffs — big names like Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker missed out on the festivities.
The gem of this group is Wall, who was easily the best player on the floor in Sunday’s win over the Hawks. Wall, Patterson, Cousins and Eric Bledsoe were teammates on John Calipari’s first Kentucky team.
Kansas Jayhawks: 6
Markieff Morris (Wizards), Kelly Oubre Jr. (Wizards), Paul Pierce (Clippers), Jeff Withey (Jazz), Nick Collison (Thunder), Wayne Selden (Grizzlies)
Jayhawks of a variety of ages are competing in this year’s playoffs. Pierce, at the tail-end of his NBA career, accomplished plenty at both levels. If the Timberwolves and 76ers improve, this list will include Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid and look even more formidable. Interesting side note: Selden starts for the Grizzlies after going undrafted in June.
Here's the full breakdown of schools and players:
|School||# Of Players|
|San Diego State||1|
|Cal State Fullerton||1|
|Cal State Long Beach||1|
|New Mexico State||1|