Colleges That Produce Highly Paid NBA Players

As scouts focus on the NCAA tournament in preparation for June's draft, it's worth noting which colleges have been most effective at not just producing NBA players, but highly paid NBA stars. One way of measuring this is looking at players who are making at least $10MM this season. Since rookie-scale contracts limit the earning power of the most recent entrants in the league, players making eight-figure salaries have already either established themselves as marquee pro talents or shown enough glimpses of their promise over their first several seasons to convince a team to open its checkbook. 

The influx of high school players, starting with Kevin Garnett in 1995 and ending in 2006, when the NBA instituted its age limit that sends most players to college for at least one season, led to a boatload of stars with no college experience. The rise in the number of international players has thinned out the college crowd, too. Three of the top four highest-paid players have no college experience, and 20 of the players making $10MM or more never stepped foot on campus.

Aside from a few bluebloods, highly paid NBA players come from a diverse range of schools. Connecticut, Duke and Florida lead all schools with three $10MM+ players each, not surprising considering all three have won multiple national championships within the last 15 years. Arizona, Texas and UCLA each boast two $10MM+ guys, but no other school can claim more than one NBA player making at least $10MM this year. The club isn't limited to NCAA tournament regulars, either. Western Carolina, Nevada, and even Butler County Community College, the alma mater of Stephen Jackson, have all produced big-money NBA talent.  

The list excludes players receiving money this season from contracts that teams removed from their books using the amnesty clause. It also doesn't include Rashard Lewis, who signed a minimum-salary deal with the Heat after the Hornets waived him over the summer, leaving his $13,765,000 cap hit on their payroll. Lewis would be the 21st player among those who didn't attend college.

No college

Connecticut

Duke

Florida

Arizona

Texas

UCLA

Arkansas

Butler County Community College

Georgetown

Georgia Tech

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Marquette

Memphis

Michigan State

Minnesota

Nevada

New Mexico

Stanford

Syracuse

Texas A&M

Utah

Wake Forest

Western Carolina

Xavier

HoopsWorld and ShamSports were used in the creation of this post.

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5 thoughts on “Colleges That Produce Highly Paid NBA Players

      • HoopsRumors

        And either way, he’s not quite earning $10MM this year, which is why he doesn’t show up on this list.

        — Luke

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  1. FlaveFlava

    I’d never seen Nene’s last name before. I had to double check before I realized it was him.

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