Unlike other professional sports leagues, the National Basketball League (NBA) mandates that all players have graduated from high school at least a year before playing their first professional game. 

Even the most talented of youngsters are forced to do something else before playing in the NBA. Some move to Europe and other outside countries to play pro basketball right away, but most of them opt to stick within and try their hand in college basketball.

College teams, of course, receive far more attention and financing than college teams in other areas of the world, which is why you can even learn how to bet on college basketball games and win just like in the NBA. 

So, if so many potential NBA stars are playing college basketball, which institution has produced the most NBA players?

Many institutions have played big roles in nurturing collegiate athletes for professional careers. Check out the Five institutions that have produced the most NBA players in history, according to Grand Canyon University data:

Kentucky – 107

The Wildcats have not only produced the most NBA players, but they have also historically been one of the greatest collegiate basketball schools in the United States. Kentucky has won eight national titles, ranking second all-time, and has made 17 Final Four appearances. Kentucky is 305-71 under coach John Calipari since he got up in 2009. Today’s top players in the NBA include Anthony Davis, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, and Devin Booker.

All-Stars: Anthony Davis, Cliff Hagan, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Rajon Rondo, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Antoine Walker, Bam Adebayo, Alex Groza, Dan Issel, Jamaal Magloire, Ralph Beard, Jamal Mashburn, Julius Randle, and Adrian Smith.

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Total All-Star selections: 43


UCLA holds the record for the most NCAA championships with 11, courtesy to great coach John Wooden and his aggressive recruitment. Before becoming pro, Wooden coached some of the NBA’s most famous players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Bill Walton. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Lonzo Ball, and Reggie Miller are among the other former Bruins who have gone on to play in the NBA.

All-Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Russell Westbrook, Reggie Miller, Gail Goodrich, Marques Johnson, Kevin Love, Willie Naulls, Sidney Wicks, Jamaal Wilkes, Baron Davis, Kiki Vandeweghe, Zach LaVine, Bill Walton, Walt Hazzard, Don Barksdale, Mark Eaton, Jrue Holiday and Curtis Rowe.

Total All-Star selections: 72

North Carolina – 90

UNC has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 48 times and has reached the Final Four 20 times. The Tar Heels have won six national championships, three of which have come under head coach Roy Williams. While several NBA stars began their careers at UNC, the most prominent Tar Heel is also one of basketball’s best talents-Michael Jordan. 

All-Stars: Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, James Worthy, Walter Davis, Bob McAdoo, Brad Daugherty, Bobby Jones, Billy Cunningham, Rasheed Wallace, Charlie Scott, Antawn Jamison, Jerry Stackhouse, and Lee Shaffer.

Total All-Star selections: 65


On the list of NCAA Tournament accomplishments, UNC’s in-state opponent isn’t far behind. Duke has made it to the Big Dance 41 times and 16 Final Fours. Under famous coach Mike Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils have won all five national championships. Duke players that have gone on to play in the NBA include Kyrie Irving, Grant Hill, Elton Brand, and Jay Williams.


All-Stars: Kyrie Irving, Grant Hill, Jeff Mullins, Jayson Tatum, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Jack Marin, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Christian Laettner.

Total All-Star selections: 31


Kansas also has an incredible history, with 46 NCAA Tournament participation and 14 Final Four appearances. The Jayhawks have won three national championships and launched the careers of numerous NBA stars. Wilt Chamberlain, Andrew Wiggins, Paul Pierce, Danny Manning, and Joel Embiid are all former Jayhawks.

All-Stars: Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Pierce, Jo Jo White, Joel Embiid, Clyde Lovellette, Bill Bridges, Danny Manning, and Andrew Wiggins.

Total All-Star selections: 45

Other Colleges include:


All-Stars: Chris Webber, Rudy Tomjanovich, Glen Rice, Rickey Green, Juwan Howard, Bob Harrison, Campy Russell, and Cazzie Russell.

Total All-Star selections: 18

Ohio State

All-Stars: John Havlicek, Jerry Lucas, Neil Johnston, Arnie Risen, Mike Conley, D’Angelo Russell, and Michael Redd.

Total All-Star selections: 33


All-Stars: Isiah Thomas, Walt Bellamy, George McGinnis, Tom Van Arsdale, Dick Van Arsdale, Victor Oladipo, and Jon McGlocklin.

Total All-Star selections: 28


All-Stars: Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, Roy Hibbert and Sleepy Floyd

Total All-Star selections: 40

Michigan State

All-Stars: Magic Johnson, Johnny Green, Draymond Green, Zach Randolph, Steve Smith, and Kevin Willis

Total All-Star selections: 24