Blue Devils technically become the first program in NCAA history to have a player selected among the top three of the NBA Draft for three straight years.
Duke Men’s Basketball has done a great job recruiting over the last few years bringing in numerous top-ranked freshman classes. That success has shown on the court as well as the NBA Draft, with the Blue Devils becoming the first program in college basketball history to have a top-three draft pick in three consecutive years from 2014-2016.
This achievement comes with a technicality though, because some would argue that Kentucky accomplished this feat first from 2010-2012 when the Wildcats had John Wall selected first, Enes Kanter picked at #3 the next year, and then Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist taken #1 and #2. However, Enes Kanter was ruled ineligible for the 2010-11 college basketball season and is not counted because he never actually played for UK.
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Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, and Brandon Ingram all had excellent careers at Duke. The consecutive top-three picks also won three straight ACC Freshman of the Year awards, named to all-conference teams, and each earned All-American accolades after their freshman season with the Blue Devils. Brandon Ingram is the most recent NBA lottery pick selected #2 this year by the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s a versatile forward who is expected to make an immediate impact on the NBA after averaging 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds with Duke last season.
Former Duke forward Jabari Parker was selected with the #2 overall pick in 2014 by the Milwaukee Bucks. His rookie year got off to a great start but was cut short after tearing his ACL. He bounced back to have an excellent second season averaging 14.1 points per game making nearly 50% of all his shots.
Center Jahlil Okafor was picked #3 in last year’s draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was the first player in conference history to be named ACC Freshman and Player of the Year and helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2015 National Championship. Like Parker, he started off hot for his rookie season but suffered an injury to end his season early. Before tearing his meniscus, Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7 rebounds per game making over half the shots he took.
The streak may continue next year, with Duke bringing in another top recruiting class with very talented players who are potential one-and-dones who are already projected to be selected high in the 2017 NBA Draft. Additionally, head coach Mike Krzyzewski continues to lead the NCAA with the most NBA Draft lottery picks with 21 players selected in the top 14.