The NBA season gets underway with a trio of games on Tuesday night, and with it comes another fun argument altogether: Which college is the best producer of NBA talent?
With final cuts made on Monday, we officially have the answer to that question, and there are few surprises at the top.
Here are the 12 colleges that have the most current NBA players.
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T12. Washington Huskies (8)
Notable NBA players: Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics), Terrence Ross (Toronto Raptors), Marquese Chriss (Phoenix Suns)
While making a list like this is normally a badge of honor for a college, it’s actually a point of contention with U-Dub fans. For a school that routinely puts out NBA talent, the results for Washington’s actual basketball program have been minimal. The Huskies haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2011 and haven’t finished better than .500 in Pac-12 play in five seasons.
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T12. LSU Tigers (8)
Notable NBA players: Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Brandon Bass (Boston Celtics), Jarrell Martin (Memphis Grizzles)
Another college team that has been highly disappointing relative to the NBA talent they produce, the Tigers have just one NCAA Tournament berth since 2009. Last year the Tigers might have been the most disappointing program in recent college basketball history after missing the NCAA Tournament with No. 1 pick Ben Simmons on their roster, as well as Tim Quarterman, who made the Trail Blazers roster as well.
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T12. Texas Longhorns (8)
Notable NBA players: Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs)
The Longhorns have been a major producer of basketball talent dating back to the Rick Barnes era a few years ago, and should continue to be as Shaka Smart gets adjusted in Austin as well. Current Texas freshman Jarrett Allen could be a Top 10 pick next year.
T12. Michigan State Spartans (8)
Notable NBA players: Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies), Denzel Valentine (Chicago Bulls)
Tom Izzo has won big in college and produced NBA players, with eight guys on active rosters. That includes rookies like Valentine and the Spurs’ Bryn Forbes, and veterans like Randolph, who has been in the league for over a decade.
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8. Florida Gators (10)
Notable NBA players: Al Horford (Boston Celtics), Joakim Noah (New York Knicks), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
A surprising entry on this list, the Gators are one of college basketball’s best producers of talent, thanks to the fruitful Billy Donovan era that produced two national championships and four Final Fours. The question: Will Florida continue to pump out prime basketball talent now that Donovan is gone?
NBAE/Getty ImagesBrian Babineau
7. Syracuse Orange (11)
Notable NBA players: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Wesley Johnson (Los Angeles Clippers), Dion Waiters (Miami Heat)
Beyond Carmelo, Jim Boeheim hasn’t produced much NBA star power, but there is plenty of depth from the Orange. The uptick is especially noticeable just in the last few years, when the school has sent Tyler Ennis, Rakeem Christmas, Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinje to the league just in the last three seasons.
Getty ImagesCraig Jones
6. Arizona Wildcats (12)
Notable NBA players: Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors), Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons), Jason Terry (Milwaukee Bucks)
Arizona was once one of the top producing colleges, then took a dip in the post-Lute Olson era, and is now trending back upward thanks to the arrival of Sean Miller. With a stacked roster this year, and a 2017 recruiting class that could end up as the best in the country, look for Arizona to continue to move up this list.
Lance Iversen-USA TODAY SportsLance Iversen
5. UCLA Bruins (13)
Notable NBA players: Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves)
A big chunk of the Bruins’ NBA star power came from the Ben Howland era, which at one point (from 2006-08) produced three straight Final Fours. With a roster full of NBA talent this year (upwards of eight current players are at least being evaluated by league scouts), UCLA should remain high on this list for years to come.
Getty ImagesBrett Deering
T4. North Carolina (15)
Notable NBA players: Harrison Barnes (Dallas Mavericks), Danny Green (San Antonio Spurs), Vince Carter (Memphis Grizzlies)
It’s no surprise that North Carolina is near the top of this list, but what is surprising is the lack of star power. It’s hard to find a single former Tar Hell projected to be anything resembling an NBA All-Star this year. Also, how the heck is Vince Carter still in this league?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsMark J. Rebilas
T4. Kansas (15)
Notable NBA players: Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota Timberwolves), Paul Pierce (Los Angeles Clippers), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
Bill Self continues to not only win big, but also pump out NBA talent at an almost unprecedented rate. This number could actually be higher, but Mario Chalmers is currently a free agent after suffering an Achilles injury last season. He will likely be on an NBA roster by the end of the year.
NBAE via Getty ImagesJeff Reinking
2. Duke (20)
Notable NBA players: Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), J.J. Redick (Los Angeles Clippers), Brandon Ingram (Los Angeles Lakers)
With Coach K’s willingness to recruit one-and-done players the last half-decade or so, Duke’s NBA numbers have not only surged, but surged with true star potential. In addition to Irving (one of the game’s young superstars) and Ingram (a rookie that everyone is looking out for), both Jabari Parker and Justise Winslow could be future All-Stars as well.
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1. Kentucky (24)
Notable NBA players: Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), John Wall (Washington Wizards)
I mean, was there even a doubt? Since John Calipari has arrived Kentucky has become an NBA factory, with everyone from All-Stars like Wall, Davis and DeMarcus Cousins dotting rosters to future stars like Towns and Devin Booker. With another top-ranked recruiting class, and at least three first-round picks on this year’s roster, the Lexington-to-the-NBA train won’t be slowing down any time soon.