In 2010, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton were selected within the first 30 picks of the NBA Draft.
The five players, all coming from the 2009-10 Kentucky Wildcats team that went 35-3 under coach John Calipari, made history, becoming the first quintet of players from the same team to be selected as first-round picks in the same draft.
That record, along with Kentucky’s record of picks in the two-round era of the NBA Draft, are in jeopardy, however. The Blue Devils, in the final season under coach Mike Krzyzewski are potentially in line to tie the former and break the latter as five Duke players find themselves within range of the first round.
What is the record for the most players taken in a single draft? And what other records are Coach K’s Blue Devils chasing? The Sporting News dives into the history of the NBA Draft.
Most players drafted in one year by school
The NBA Draft has only consisted of two rounds since 1989. Still, the record for most players taken from the same school does not change, only the holders of the record is impacted.
Back in 1972, UNC had six players selected, though only three came in the first 60 picks. Stephen Previs (111), Kim Huband (176) and Craig Corson (182) were selected well past how far the draft would last in today’s NBA.
In 2012, following the national title-winning run by the Wildcats, Kentucky set the two-round record and matched that 1972 UNC mark with six players (Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller) were selected.
It took all of three years for the Wildcats to tie their record, when, after the 38-1 campaign, Kentucky saw six players selected again (Karl Anthony-Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker, Andrew Harrison and Dakari Johnson) in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Here’s a look at the schools that have had at least five players taken in the same draft in the two-round era.
Duke’s Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, Mark Williams, Trevor Keels and Wendell Moore Jr. all figure to get drafted and at least add Duke to the above list of teams that have had at least five players taken in a single season. But their talent could make even more history.
Most first-round picks in single draft by school
The 2010 record of five players selected in the first round by the Wildcats remains the mark to beat. No team has tied it, though several have come close, including Krzyzewski’s own Blue Devils.
Back in 1999, it was Duke that set the initial record of four first-round picks, when Elton Brand, Trajan Langdon, Corey Maggette and William Avery were all taken in the first round. That record was matched twice, first by UNC in 2005, then by UConn in 2006.
Then, Kentucky broke the record in 2010. Since then, Kentucky has had four players drafted as first rounders twice (2012 and 2015) and UNC has done it once (2012).
Should Banchero, Griffin, Williams, Keels and Moore all go in the first round, Duke would tie Kentucky’s record.
All-time NBA draft picks by school
Dating back to the 1966 NBA Draft, considered the first modern draft, UCLA has had 106 players, according to Basketball Reference.
Only four teams have exceeded the 80 threshold in history:
Next up is Kansas at 73 and Arizona at 67.
A look at the picks over time shows that when Krzyzewski became Duke’s head coach in 1980, they began to rapidly rise up the all-time draft selection list. Duke first makes the top-10 in 1993, and rises up from there.
But the draft also used to run much longer. There used to be as many as 237 players taken in a single draft. In the history of the two-round era, which started in 1989, the record is 58, held by Kentucky. However, the Wildcats don’t have the same wide margin they do in the overall history.
Based on The Sporting News’ top 60 big board, Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe and TyTy Washington are the only players expected to go within the first two rounds. Should Duke send five and Kentucky have only two drafted, Duke would move up to two picks ahead of the Wildcats at 62-60.
For those who want to go all the way back to the first BAA Draft in 1947, Kentucky leads with 136 players drafted, followed by UCLA (124), UNC (117) and Duke (102). However, the drafts back then had territorial picks, which meant teams could take any player inside a 50-mile radius of its home arena before the draft instead of using a first-round pick.
All-time NBA first-round picks by school
Going back to the 1966 NBA Draft, no team has had more players drafted in the first-round than Kentucky at 51. UNC is narrowly behind the Wildcats at 50.
But again, Kentucky’s advantage closes in the two-round era. The Wildcats still hold the record at 42, but Duke is right behind them with 40 first-round picks.
When it comes to first overall selections since 1966, they are tied with three each. UNC, Kansas, UCLA, Michigan, Maryland, UNLV, LSU, Georgetown, Purdue and Houston each have two. Banchero, who is in the mix for players to be taken first overall, could move Duke into sole possession of first in that category.
The Sporting News 2022 mock draft
Based on the mock draft from TSN’s Kyle Irving, expect to see Duke take down some, but not all of the records.
There are seven schools Irving predicts to have multiple picks.
Given that count, Duke would come up one player shy of tying Kentucky’s record of five first-round picks in the same draft, but the Blue Devils would surpass the Wildcats for total draft picks in the history of the two-round era.
Irving also projects Banchero to go first overall, which would give Duke the record for the most first overall selections.