The 2 schools with most No. 1 overall picks in NBA Draft history

Kyrie Irving, Duke Blue Devils. (Photo by Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)
Kyrie Irving, Duke Blue Devils. (Photo by Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports) /
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NBA Draft
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timbewolves and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

Kentucky Wildcats, three No. 1 overall picks

Despite having the second-most wins of all time and the best winning percentage of any Division I program ever, the Kentucky Wildcats have only produced two players selected as No. 1 overall picks, and both came within a five-year span. In 2009, John Calipari took over the prestigious program and immediately started developing top talent. In his first year, he signed five-star recruit John Wall, who became the first Kentucky Wildcat to be selected first overall in 2010. Although John Wall was an elite point guard in his prime, injuries limited his potential.

The 2012 Kentucky Wildcats showcased their dominance, finishing the regular season with a remarkable 32-2 record and a perfect 16-0 record in SEC games. Calipari went on to win the championship against the Kansas Jayhawks. This team set a record with six players drafted, and Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist became the first teammates to be selected first and second overall in the same draft. Anthony Davis has demonstrated his dominance when he’s available and will forever be remembered as a champion.

Surpassing the incredible 2012 regular season, the 2015 Kentucky Wildcats finished the regular season with a perfect 31-0 record but fell short and lost in the Final Four. Another dominant run led to Karl-Anthony Towns being selected as the first overall pick in 2015, establishing himself as one of the premier offensive big men in today’s game.

Kentucky has produced a total of 34 first-rounders and 22 lottery picks, with the most recent being Shaedon Sharpe, selected seventh overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. The program continues to churn out top talent, making it a strong contender to challenge the current leader.