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Monday June 17, 2013 'Path to the Draft' series rates UF as No. 11 program for producing top NBA talent

Updated: 8:39pm, June 17

NBA Gators GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With the NBA Draft set for next week, ESPN college basketball writer Eamonn Brennan has put together an excellent series counting down the 20 best programs for producing NBA players since the draft went to two rounds in 1989.

In his “Path to the Draft: Ranking NBA Pedigree,” Brennan laments how college basketball fans, in essence, stop caring about whether a player’s college experience prepared him for the NBA once that player is gone.

In most cases, true.

So his series -- extremely detailed and informative, including a starting five (plus sixth man) from each program -- does not rate the schools by the sheer numbers of players it has sent to the NBA, but how good those players have performed.

Example: Friday’s installment had Wake Forest checking in at No. 9. If that raises your eyebrows, maybe Demon Deacon alums Tim Duncan and Chris Paul will lower them.

Quality over quantity.

Florida, by the way, gets the No. 11 ranking with a starting five of Joakim Noah, David Lee, Mike Miller, Al Horford and Jason Williams, with Udonis Haslem off the bench. Check back in a couple years and it may be tough to keep Chandler Parsons and Bradley Beal, a pair of ascending stars, from punching into that rotation.

Brennan breaks down each installment under the following categories: Why they’re ranked where they are; Why they could be ranked higher; Why they could be ranked lower; What’s ahead; Final thoughts.

That first category is clear cut, relative to UF.

Billy D The Gators are ranked where they, Brennan writes, because: “Seventeen years ago the University of Florida took a chance."

UF could have gone the conservative route when looking to replace departing coach Lon Kruger, but instead, “the Gators walked through door No. 2, hiring a 31-year-old former Providence star and Rick Pitino protege with five years as an assistant and two as a head coach on his resume.”

That was 1996.

In 2013, Billy Donovan is a slam-dunk future Hall-of-Famer with an impressive (and growing) list of players not just performing, but starring at the next level.

Anyway, it’s an excellent series. If you don’t have time to read it, here’s how Brennan ranks his 20 programs (plus his starting lineups) through Monday's installment at No. 8. 

20) Syracuse -- Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens, Hakim Warrick and John Wallace (sixth man)

19) Ohio State -- Michael Redd, Mike Conley, Jim Jackson, Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger and Daequan Cook (sixth man)

18) LSU -- Shaquille O’Neal, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf/Chris Jackson, Glen Davis, Marcus Thornton, Brandon Bass and Tyrus Thomas (sixth man)

17) Alabama -- Latrell Sprewell, Antonio McDyess, Gerald Wallace, Robert Horry, Mo Williams and Jason Caffey (sixth man)

16) Michigan State -- Steve Smith, Jason Richardson, Zach Randolph, Morris Peterson, Eric Snow and Shannon Brown (sixth man)

15) Memphis -- Penny Hardaway, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Lorenzen Wright, Elliot Perry and Will Barton (sixth man)

14) Kansas -- Paul Pierce, Kirk Hinrich, Drew Gooden, Mario Chalmers, Raef LaFrentz and Nick Collison (sixth man)

13) UNLV -- Larry Johnson, Shawn Marion, J.R. Rider, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony and Keon Clark (sixth man)

12) Georgia Tech -- Chris Bosh, Stephon Marbury, Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott, Thaddeus Young and Matt Harpring (sixth man)

11) Florida -- (see above)

10) Texas -- Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Ford, Tristan Thompson, D.J. Augustin and Avery Bradley (sixth man)

9) Wake Forest -- Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, Josh Howard, Rodney Rogers, Jeff Teague and Darius Songalia (sixth man).

8) Michigan -- Chris Webber, Glen Rice, Juwan Howard, Jamal Crawford, Jalen Rose and Mo Taylor (sixth man).

Now, with seven spots remaining (reserved mostly for the roundball blue bloods), I’m going to go out on a limb and and say the rankings will fall something like this (and without reigning national champion Louisville anywhere to be found).

7) Georgetown

6) Connecticut

5) Arizona

4) Duke

3) Kentucky

2) North Carolina


Or something like that.

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