North Carolina and UCLA Produced the Most Wins for the NBA

Posted on July 18, 2011 by


In my last post I noted that the longer NBA players are in college, the less they offer in the NBA.   Today it is a different question.  Which universities are turning out the most productive NBA players?

The NBA drafted players from 346 different institutions of higher learning from 1978 to 2010. See this spreadsheet for the full list.

Below is a list of the top 10 schools in wins produced. As one can see, NBA players from the University of North Carolina and UCLA produced over 200 more wins than players from any other college since 1978.

1. University of North Carolina: 54 players produced 1285.8 wins

You were expecting someone else?

  • Most productive alum: Michael Jordan with 284.2 wins produced
  • Least productive alum: Joe Wolf with -17.7 wins produced

2. University of California, Los Angeles: 65 players produced 1052.5 wins

Miller time.

3. Duke University: 38 players produced 826.5 wins

If not for the Pistons he coulda been a contender.

  • Most productive alum: Grant Hill with 137.9 wins produced
  • Least productive alum: Bobby Hurley with -5.2 wins produced

4. Michigan State University: 26 players produced 759.5 wins

Magic Johnson was worth about four players.

5. University of Houston: 21 players produced 724.6 wins

Houston's Dream #1 Pick and Robinson's Nightmare.

6. Georgetown University: 25 players produced 721.6 wins


7. University of Arizona: 39 players produced 570 wins

A.I who?

8. Clemson University: 13 players produced 568.8 wins

See Cleveland it's not so bad.

9. University of Nevada-Las Vegas: 29 players produced 561.6 wins

Finally a title and a spot on a top ten list!

10. Wake Forest University: 20 players produced 547.1 wins

Just happy to be here.

Summing Up

Let me close with a few more observations…

The stats required to calculate wins produced only go back to 1978. The first eight seasons for the career of UCLA’s best alum in the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, were not included in this analysis. That’s why Kareem is not the most productive UCLA alum since 1978. See this spreadsheet for the full list of alumni for each school in the top 10.

Traditional basketball powerhouses, Kentucky and Kansas, placed the third and fourth-highest number of players in the NBA after UCLA and UNC, but only rank 15th and 18th in wins produced (of course, if Wilt Chamberlain from Kansas could be included, Kansas might be ranked a bit higher).

No Kentucky Wildcat produced more than 100 wins in the NBA since 1978. Rajon Rondo is the all-time leader with 65 wins produced.

Paul Pierce is the all-time leader in wins produced for Kansas Jayhawks with 157.9 wins produced but no other alum produced more than 50 wins.

University of Houston is the only school in the top 10 with two alumni that produced more than 200 wins in their careers; Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler (222.9 wins produced). The next closest school is Georgetown with Mutombo and Patrick Ewing (172.2 wins produced).

Clemson powered its way into the top 10 with three power forwards that produced more than 100 wins each: Larry Nance, Horace Grant (142 wins produced) and Dale Davis (120.8 wins produced).

Tim Duncan and Chris Paul combined to produce 368.2 wins (fifth-highest of any duo in the top 10) to land Wake Forest among the top schools.

Now that we know which colleges produced the most wins, the next question is whether the NBA overpaid for the college education of those players. That issue will be addressed in a future post.

-Mosi (check out more from Mosi Platt at the Miami Heat Index)