In the penultimate week of June this year, a record 10 ACC basketball players were selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft. One-third of the first round went to the ACC; it’s a remarkable achievement. This event took place less than three months after North Carolina won its third national championship under Roy Williams.
The last three seasons of ACC basketball have been rather incredible, and it’s worth recapping.
- NCAA Championship: Duke
- Five Sweet 16 teams: NC State, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Louisville
- Seven first round picks (Okafor, Winslow, Rozier, Grant, Anderson, Jones, McCullough)
- NCAA Championship runner-up: North Carolina
- Six Sweet 16 teams (a record): Miami, Duke, Syracuse, Virginia, Notre Dame, North Carolina
- Four first round picks (Ingram, Beasley, Richardson, Johnson)
- NCAA Championship: North Carolina
- One Sweet 16 team: North Carolina
- 10 first round picks (Tatum, Isaac, Smith Jr., Kennard, Mitchell, Jackson, Collins, Giles, Lydon, Bradley)
Going through some of the numbers
There have been 90 first round draft choices in the NBA over the past three years; 21 of those players hailed from the ACC (23.3 percent). That group includes one top-three pick in each draft: Jahlil Okafor (No. 3), Brandon Ingram (No. 2) and Jayson Tatum (No. 3).
The ACC has also produced six of the last 30 top-10 selections: Justice Winslow (No. 10, 2015), Jonathan Isaac (No. 6), Dennis Smith Jr. (No. 9).
ACC basketball in the KenPom Era
There are an infinite number of ways to evaluate the overall strength or success of a basketball conference; KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin is another such method. This metric is the difference between a team’s offensive and defensive efficiency.
Over the last three seasons (2015-17), the ACC has been omnipresent at the top of these year-end rankings.
Back in 2015: Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame and North Carolina all ranked inside the top 10 of the final efficiency margin standings. A year later, three more ACC teams landed in the top 10 — UNC, UVA and Louisville. It was more of the same in 2017, too; North Carolina and Louisville ranked inside KenPom’s final top 10.
For those counting at home, that makes nine ACC teams that have ranked inside the top 10 of the KenPom standings, 2015-17.
Here’s a look at how that compares to the other Power Five conferences over the same stretch.
- SEC — 4
- Big Ten — 3
- Big 12 — 5
- Pac-12 — 3