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#pounditWednesday, December 7, 2022

College basketball blue bloods have unusually weak NBA Draft

John Calipari

The 2020 NBA Draft was an unusual one, so it probably shouldn’t be too surprising that it produced some unusual results.

One notable oddity was how little of a factor the “blue blood” programs from college basketball were in the draft.

For the first time since 2000, no players from Duke, Kansas, Kentucky or North Carolina were lottery picks in the NBA Draft. The first player drafted from one of those schools was the Tar Heels’ Cole Anthony, who was selected No. 15 overall.

Ultimately, four players from those schools were taken in the first round:

– Cole Anthony (North Carolina) No. 15
– Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky) No. 21
– Immanuel Quickley (Kentucky) No. 25
– Udoka Azubuike (Kansas) No. 27

Four more went in the second round:
– Vernon Carey Jr. (Duke) No. 32
– Tre Jones (Duke) No. 41
– Nick Richards (Kentucky) No. 42
– Cassius Stanley (Duke) No. 54

So what accounts for the lack of dominance by these programs at the top of the draft? Let’s start with North Carolina: they were 14-19 last season and just did not have much talent. They were just bad.

Kentucky had some good players, but Maxey was a freshman, and we didn’t get too many looks from him because of the shortened season. Duke had some good players but no stars. Kansas only had one top prospect, while Devon Dotson went undrafted.

This result is somewhat indicative of changing trends in college basketball. James Wiseman barely played in college, and when he did, it was with Memphis. Some players, like Kenyon Martin Jr. are skipping college and going to schools like IMG Academy to train. And you had players like R.J. Hampton and LaMelo Ball, who played professionally in other countries. Plus, there was a strong crop of international players.

College basketball isn’t “done.” It’s nothing close to that. But as more options for players emerge, including some signing to play straight in the G League, the days of seeing top college programs monopolize the top talent are slowing down.

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