Where Wildcats Stand Among Best Colleges At Producing NBA Talent

Where Wildcats Stand Among Best Colleges At Producing NBA Talent
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Few men’s basketball programs produce the high-level talent the Arizona Wildcats have since the arrival of legendary coach Lute Olson in 1983.

Dating back to 1947, the Wildcats have produced 74 NBA Draft picks, including NBA All Stars Sean Elliott, Gilbert Arenas and Andre Iguodala, on top of 2018 No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton and a host of other NBA talent.

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The current crop of Wildcats in the NBA includes seven players, ranging from Ayton to bench players Christian Koloko, Dalen Terry and Nico Mannion.

With the 2023 NBA Draft coming up, BetArizona.com took a look at which college programs have produced the most NBA talent over the past five years, utilizing total win shares from ProBasketballReference.com.

According to Arizona sportsbooks, this draft might be light on college talent at the top. Five of the six potential top picks based on odds are either international players or bypassed college basketball.

Colleges With Most NBA Talent Since 2018

Rank School Players Total Win Share
1KentuckyShai Gilgeous-Alexander (29), Tyrese Maxey (14.6), Jared Vanderbilt (14.3), Imannuel Quickley (14.1), PJ Washington (10.6), Tyler Herro (10.5), Keldon Johnson (10.5), Hamidou Diallo (6.2), Nick Richards (5.2), Isaiah Jackson (4.1), Shaedon Sharpe (1.2), Brandon Boston Jr. (0.6), Kevin Knox (0.3), TyTy Washington (-0.1)121.1
2DukeWendell Carter Jr. (18.1), Zion Williamson (14.2), Gary Trent Jr. (14.1), Grayson Allen (13.1), Marvin Bagley (9.3), RJ Barret (8.1), Tre Jones (6.7), Mark Williams (2.8), Paolo Banchero (2.4), Jalen Johnson (2.2), AJ Griffin (2.2), Cam Reddish (2), Vernon Carey (0.2), Wendell Moore (0.1), Cassius Stanley (0), Trevor Keels (0)95.5
3VillanovaMikal Bridges (32.1), Jalen Brunson (26), Donte DiVincenzo (13.4), Sadiq Bey (11.1), Eric Paschall (5), Jerimiah Robinson Earl (3.4), Omari Spellman (2.4)93.4
T4Arizona DeAndre Ayton (30.9), Josh Green (5.5), Zeke Nnaji (4.3), Bennedict Mathurin (1.8), Christian Koloko (1.7), Dalen Terry (0.5), Nico Mannion (0.2)44.9
T4Michigan State Jaren Jackson (19.4), Miles Bridges (16), Xavier Tillman (8.8), Max Christie (0.6), Cassius Winston (0.1)44.9

BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona has Alabama’s Brandon Miller with the best NBA Draft odds of any college player this year.

Where Wildcats Recent Draftees Rank

The Wildcats find themselves among heady company when it comes to the current crop of NBA players.

Ayton leads the way in terms of win shares by former Wildcats in today’s NBA, with the 7-footer accumulating a career total of 30.9 win shares, followed by Josh Green (5.5 win shares), Zeke Nnaji (4.3 win shares), Bennedict Mathurin (1.8 win shares), Christian Koloko (1.7 win shares), Dalen Terry (0.5 win shares) and Nico Mannion (0.2 win shares).

The Wildcats’ alumni have a combined win total of 44.9, coming in tied with Michigan State for the fourth most win shares of any school in the country.

Ayton averaged 13.4 points per game in 10 postseason games for the Suns, as they were eliminated by Denver. Arizona betting apps have the Nuggets as favorites to repeat next season (+500), while the Suns are listed fourth (+700).

As far as recent college success stories in the NBA, Arizona trails Kentucky (121.1 win shares), Duke (95.5 win shares) and Villanova (93.4 win shares).

The Wildcats do, however, lay claim to a member of the 2023 NBA champion Nuggets (Zeke Nnaji) and two up-and-coming talents in Mathurin and Terry.

With a few more years of experience, Arizona’s cast of recent NBA send-offs could challenge the country’s top teams for combined win shares.

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Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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