Ranking college basketball programs by best alumni in the NBA

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Kentucky Survives In OT



By ALEX PUTTERMAN
College Contributor Network

NBA players come from a wide variety of colleges. Some of the league's best players attended Davidson, Weber State and Fresno State.

But while many schools can claim NBA players, not many have the proper alumni to form a coherent team. So which colleges could form the best teams from former players currently in the pros?

Georgetown has plenty of big men (Roy Hibbert, Greg Monroe, Henry Sims) and Marquette has a stacked backcourt (Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Wesley Mathews), but neither can fill out a full starting lineup.

Wake Forest boasts a great Big Three in Chris Paul, Tim Duncan and Jeff Teague, but there's not much after that. Syracuse is 80 percent of the way to a solid starting five, with Michael Carter-Williams, Dion Waiters, Wes Johnson and Carmelo Anthony, but there's absolutely no one to play center.

USC could form a competent starting lineup from O.J. Mayo, Nick Young, DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson and Nikola Vucevic but has essentially no bench. Arizona, on the other hand, has half a dozen guys who would make good bench players but just about no starters.

Washington's alumni squad -- with Isaiah Thomas, Tony Wroten, Terrence Ross and a handful of others -- have all the pieces but lacks the star-power to form a formidable roster.

Enough of the schools that don't cut it. Here are those that do.

9. Georgia Tech

Starters:
G Jarrett Jack
G Iman Shumpert
F Thaddeus Young
F Chris Bosh
C Derrick Favors

Bench:
G Anthony Morrow

Georgia Tech is the least accomplished basketball school on this list, but it's got itself a nice collection of NBA talent in its alumni ranks. With five solid players (albeit no stars) in the starting lineup, the Yellow Jackets would be even higher if they had more than six pros.

8. Connecticut

Starters:
G Kemba Walker
G Jeremy Lamb
F Caron Butler
F Rudy Gay
C Andre Drummond

Bench:
G Ben Gordon
G Shabazz Napier
F Charlie Villanueva

A few years ago when Butler, Richard Hamilton and Ray Allen were going strong, UConn had a case for the top five. And though Walker and Drummond have become productive NBA players and Gay has rebounded over the last 12 months, there's not much else here anymore. Napier and Lamb will have to grow quickly to fully restore the Huskies.

7. Kansas

Starters:
G Mario Chalmers
G Andrew Wiggins
F Paul Pierce
F Markieff Morris
C Cole Aldrich

Bench:
G Ben McLemore
F Marcus Morris
F Darrell Arthur

No stars on this team, as Pierce appears over the hill and Wiggins is only a rookie, but it's a solid squad top to bottom, with potential to improve as the younger guys mature and improve. It wouldn't be surprising if the Jayhawks' group looks more impressive in future years.

6. North Carolina

Starters:
G Ty Lawson
G Danny Green
F Harrison Barnes
F John Henson
C Brandan Wright

Bench:
G Wayne Ellington
G/F Vince Carter
C Tyler Zeller

Another good team top to bottom without much star power. The difference between North Carolina and, say, Kansas, however, is the presence of Ty Lawson, an under-appreciated, top-notch point guard. It feels odd to exclude Tyler Hansbrough -- the player most associated with the Tar Heels -- from this team, but he's been awfully unimpressive (impressively awful?) in the NBA.

5. Duke

Starters:
G Kyrie Irving
G J.J. Redick
F Luol Deng
F Jabari Parker
C Mason Plumlee

Bench:
F Carlos Boozer
G/F Gerald Henderson
G/F Mike Dunleavy

Duke's NBA roster is never quite as imposing as you expect it to be, but with Irving and Parker, the most recent generation of Blue Devils is making a mark. Beyond those two, Redick and Deng are good players, and the bench is deep. Center is a weak spot though, at least until Jahlil Okafor enters the draft in a few months.

4. Florida

Starters:
G Bradley Beal
G Corey Brewer
F Chandler Parsons
F Al Horford
C Joakim Noah

Bench:
F/C Marreese Speights
F David Lee
G Mike Miller

Three of Florida's five starters come from the Gators' back-to-back title teams of '06 and '07. There's no point guard on this roster, which is a problem, but that big-man quartet is incredible, and Beal and Parsons provide the scoring. This could be the second-best defensive team on the list, behind the absurd collection of players coming up at the top spot.

3. UCLA

Starters:
G Russell Westbrook
G Jrue Holiday
G Arron Afflalo
F Trevor Ariza
F Kevin Love

Bench:
G/F Shabazz Muhammad
F Matt Barnes
F Luc Mbah A Moute

Westbrook and Love, Love and Westbrook. That duo pretty much single-handedly launches this otherwise uninspiring team into the top-three. In addition to those two, Jrue Holiday is a solid player, and the Bruins have five quality wings who can be interchanged on the bench and in the starting lineup. Love's struggles this year and UCLA's lack of a true center keep this team from being one spot higher.

2. Texas

Starters:
G D.J. Augustin
G Avery Bradley
F Kevin Durant
F Tristan Thompson
F LaMarcus Aldridge

Bench:
F P.J. Tucker
G Cory Joseph

The Longhorns only have seven guys in the NBA, but all of them are quality players, and one of them is Kevin Durant. LaMarcus Aldridge flies under the radar a bit, but he's made the All-Star Game three years in a row and is one of the league's best power forwards. And the emergence of Tristan Thompson in Cleveland this year gives Texas an absolutely stacked frontcourt that makes up for the shallow bench. Still, this team is nowhere close to the next one because...

1. Kentucky

Starters:
G John Wall
G Eric Bledsoe
F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
F Anthony Davis
C DeMarcus Cousins

Bench:
G Rajon Rondo
F Patrick Patterson
F Terrance Jones

Kentucky's group is absolutely insane. This team has five All-Star caliber players including one of the NBA's 10 best point guards coming off the bench. The Wildcats' pro roster is deep, star-studded and generally makes sense positionally. And with such a young starting lineup, featuring the next NBA superstar, there's no question Kentucky will dominate lists like this for a long time.


Alex Putterman is a junior Journalism major at Northwestern University. He recently finished a term as Daily Northwestern sports editor and continues to cover Wildcats sports. He has a wide range of interests but loves baseball above all.
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