Wildcats rank high among top colleges in producing NBA talent.

Where Wildcats Stand Among Best Colleges At Producing NBA Talent
Fact Checked by Young Ruth

Since legendary coach Lute Olson took over in 1983, the Arizona Wildcats’ men’s basketball program has consistently churned out top-tier talent.

The Wildcats have produced a total of 74 NBA Draft picks since 1947, including notable NBA All Stars such as Sean Elliott, Gilbert Arenas, and Andre Iguodala, as well as top 2018 pick Deandre Ayton and numerous other skilled NBA players.

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Seven players from the University of Arizona are currently playing in the NBA, including Ayton and bench players Christian Koloko, Dalen Terry, and Nico Mannion.

Yengols.com analyzed college programs that have generated the most NBA talent in the past five years by examining total win shares data from ProBasketballReference.com in preparation for the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft.

Arizona sportsbooks are indicating that the upcoming draft might lack top college talent, with five out of the six potential top picks based on odds being either international players or not having played college basketball.

Colleges Producing the Highest Number of NBA Players 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

At BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona, Brandon Miller of Alabama has the highest NBA Draft odds of any college player this year.

Ranking of Recent Wildcats Draft Picks

The Wildcats rank among the top NBA players.

Ayton leads all former Wildcats in the NBA with a career total of 30.9 win shares, followed by Josh Green with 5.5, Zeke Nnaji with 4.3, Bennedict Mathurin with 1.8, Christian Koloko with 1.7, Dalen Terry with 0.5, and Nico Mannion with 0.2.

The former players of the Wildcats have accumulated a total of 44.9 wins, which ties them with Michigan State for the fourth highest win shares among all schools in the nation.

In the playoffs, Ayton averaged 13.4 points in 10 games for the Suns before they were knocked out by Denver. Arizona betting apps currently favor the Nuggets to win again next season with odds of +500, while the Suns are ranked fourth with odds of +700.

Arizona ranks lower than Kentucky, Duke, and Villanova in terms of recent college success stories in the NBA, with only 121.1 win shares compared to Kentucky’s 95.5, Duke’s 93.4, and Villanova’s 121.1 win shares.

The Wildcats have a connection to the 2023 NBA champion Nuggets through Zeke Nnaji, along with up-and-coming players Mathurin and Terry.

Arizona’s experienced NBA players may be able to compete with the win shares of the best teams in the country as they gain more years in the league.



Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher, with over seven years of experience covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for various publications such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News, currently holds the position of lead writer at yengols.com.

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