The University Of Kentucky Tops All Schools in the Nation Boasting Former Players on NBA Opening-Day Rosters

The University of Kentucky is steeped in basketball history and has one of the most prominent college basketball programs in the nation. The Wildcats boasts 13 national championships and has sent the most players to the NBA out of any NCAA school.

This season alone, 26 former UK players were on opening-day rosters. The university’s prowess was on full display as it had the most players named to said squads to begin 2033/24, with the players, both two-way and inactive, having finished their collegiate careers at Kentucky being the most in the league. Duke is the only other school with more than 20 former players in the NBA with 24.

The SEC also has the most ex-players in the pros among collegiate conferences with 92 on opening-day rosters, while the ACC was in second place with 77 players.

15 NBA teams have at least one UK player while eight have more than one. The New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, and Oklahoma City Thunder each have three players on their current rosters. The Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Charlotte Hornets each have two.

Below is a list of all of the former Kentucky stars currently in the NBA:

Bam Adebayo – Miami Heat

Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns

Brandon Boston Jr. – Los Angeles Clippers

Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers

De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Oklahoma City Thunder

Tyler Herro – Miami Heat

Isaiah Jackson – Indiana Pacers

Keldon Johnson – San Antonio Spurs

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Chris Livingston – Milwaukee Bucks

Trey Lyles – Sacramento Kings

Tyrese Maxey – Philadelphia 76ers

Malik Monk – Sacramento Kings

Jamal Murray – Denver Nuggets

Immanuel Quickley – New York Knicks

Julius Randle – New York Knicks

Nick Richards – Charlotte Hornets

Olivier Sarr – Oklahoma City Thunder

Shaedon Sharpe – Portland Trail Blazers

Jacob Toppin – New York Knicks

Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves

Oscar Tshiebwe – Indiana Pacers

Jarred Vanderbilt – Los Angeles Lakers

Cason Wallace – Oklahoma City Thunder

PJ Washington – Charlotte Hornets

TyTy Washington Jr. – Milwaukee Bucks

Of course, the wealth of former UK talent in the league leaves residents of the Bluegrass State with plenty of Kentucky sportsbook promos to consider. The Bucks, favored to win the title this season after the addition of Damian Lillard, were 4/1 at the time of writing and, as mentioned above, have two former Wildcats on their roster. They’re likely the favorite bet in Kentucky at the moment.

The Heat, who would have likely been the favorites for the title had Lillard gone there instead, also have two ex-Wildcats. They’re 20/1 after missing out on Lillard and winning just one of their first four games.

John Calipari’s 14 seasons as head coach have produced 47 players who have been drafted into the NBA – of those 47, 35 have been selected in the first round while three of them, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, and John Wall, were first-overall picks.

The UK head coach has gone 16 straight drafts with at least one of his players being picked in the first round, which dates back to his time at Memphis. He is one of just two coaches in basketball history to see four of his former players going No. 1 overall as Derrick Rose went first overall from the Tigers in 2008.

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Two former Wildcats made All-NBA teams last season. OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was first-team while Knicks star Julius Randle was named to the third team.

Calipari can boast more players than any other among active college coaches to have pros who have made All-Star teams with 10. The 10 players have 32 total selections among them. Dean Smith is the only coach in college history to have had more (12).

Last season, Denver Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray became the 16th former Kentucky player to win an NBA title. Murray, who has formed one of the NBA’s most formidable two-player partnerships with center Nikola Jokic, helped the Nuggets secure their first championship after beating the Heat in five games earlier this year.

According to figures from and, players coached by Calipari in college have made close to $4 billion in NBA contracts collectively. His former Kentucky players have made close to $3.5 billion.

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