The NBA showcases some of the most talented athletes in the world. We’ve witnessed many players make their journey from college basketball to NBA stardom, but sometimes, casual or experienced fans-alike may ask, “Where did they go to college?” 

Whether you’re curious about the college an NBA player attended or you want to quiz your own NBA knowledge, we’ve compiled a list of 35 of the most popular NBA players and some interesting information about them, specifically related to their college careers.

Damian Lillard | Sales, Weber State University

Damian Lillard attended Weber State University and majored in professional sales. He received his degree three years after entering the NBA. Damian Lillard was the second leading scorer in Division I college basketball during his senior year at Weber State University (24.5 points per game) and his Portland Trail Blazers teammate, CJ McCollum, was the fifth leading scorer in Division I with 21.9 points per game at Lehigh University that year. After four years at Weber State, Damian Lillard was drafted 6th overall in 2012 by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Jimmy Butler | Communication Studies, Marquette University

Jimmy Butler attended Marquette University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. Jimmy Butler averaged 15.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 2.3 APG in his junior year at Marquette University before he was eventually drafted 30th overall (the final pick in the first round) by the Chicago Bulls in 2011.

Anthony Davis | University of Kentucky

Anthony Davis attended the University of Kentucky. Anthony Davis averaged 14.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 1.3 APG in his lone season at the University of Kentucky before he was eventually drafted 1st overall by the New Orleans Hornets (now the New Orleans Pelicans) in 2012.

LeBron James | No Collegiate Experience

Some newer NBA fans may not be aware of this, but LeBron James went directly to the NBA out of high school! LeBron James was drafted 1st overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 after playing high school basketball at St. Vincent–St. Mary in Akron, Ohio.

Kawhi Leonard | San Diego State University

Kawhi Leonard attended San Diego State University. Kawhi Leonard averaged 15.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 2.5 APG in his sophomore year at San Diego State University before he was eventually drafted 15th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 2011.

Luka Dončić | No Collegiate Experience

Luka Dončić did not attend college before entering the NBA. Luka Dončić began his basketball career playing professionally in Spain for Real Madrid. He actually signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid when he was only 13 years old! He was later drafted 3rd overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2018, but was quickly traded to the Dallas Mavericks (for Trae Young and a protected future first-round pick in 2019).

Jamal Murray | University of Kentucky

Jamal Murray attended the University of Kentucky. Jamal Murray averaged 20.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 2.2 APG in his lone season at the University of Kentucky before he was eventually drafted 7th overall by the Denver Nuggets in 2016.

James Harden | Arizona State University

James Harden attended Arizona State University. James Harden entered the NBA draft following his sophomore year at Arizona State University after averaging 20.1 PPG, 5.6 RPB, and 4.2 APG, where he was then drafted 3rd overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019.

Russell Westbrook | UCLA

Russell Westbrook attended UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). Russell Westbrook went from playing 9 minutes per game his freshman year (3.4 PPG) to nearly 34 minutes per game in his sophomore year (12.7 PPG). He entered the NBA draft following his sophomore year at UCLA and was the 4th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics (which then relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder six days later).

Giannis Antetokounmpo | No Collegiate Experience

Giannis Antetokounmpo, AKA “The Greek Freak”, did not go to college before entering the NBA. Instead, he played for a professional team in his native country of Greece, called Filathlitikos starting in 2011. He was drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013.

Kevin Durant | University of Texas

Kevin Durant attended the University of Texas. Kevin Durant averaged 25.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, and 1.3 APG in his lone season at the University of Texas before he was eventually drafted 2nd overall by the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) in 2007.

Pascal Siakam | Individualized Studies, New Mexico State University

Pascal Siakam attended New Mexico State University and majored in Individualized Studies. Pascal Siakam entered the draft following his Sophomore year at New Mexico State University after averaging 20.3 PPG, 11.6 RPB, and 1.7 APG, where he was then drafted 27th overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2016.

Nikola Jokic | No Collegiate Experience

Nikola Jokic did not attend college before entering the NBA. Nikola Jokic began his basketball career playing professionally in Serbia, where he was later drafted in the 2nd round (41st overall) by the Denver Nuggets in 2014.

Ben Simmons | LSU

Ben Simmons attended Louisiana State University (LSU). Ben Simmons averaged 19.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 4.8 APG in his lone season at LSU before he was eventually drafted 1st overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016.

Karl-Anthony Towns | University of Kentucky

Karl-Anthony Towns attended the University of Kentucky. Karl-Anthony Towns averaged 10.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.1 APG in his lone season at the University of Kentucky before he was eventually drafted 1st overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015.

Blake Griffin | University of Oklahoma

Blake Griffin attended the University of Oklahoma. Blake Griffin averaged 22.7 PPG, 14.4 RPG, and 2.3 APG in his sophomore year at the University of Oklahoma and claimed AP Player of the Year honors before he was eventually drafted 1st overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2009.

Donovan Mitchell | University of Louisville

Donovan Mitchell attended the University of Louisville. Donovan Mitchell averaged 15.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 2.7 APG in his sophomore year at the University of Louisville before he was eventually drafted 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets in 2017, but then was immediately traded to the Utah Jazz (for the 24th Pick in the 2017 draft and Trey Lyles).

Devin Booker | University of Kentucky

Devin Booker attended the University of Kentucky. Devin Booker averaged 10.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 1.1 APG in his lone season at the University of Kentucky before he was eventually drafted 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2015. 

Jayson Tatum | Duke University

Jayson Tatum attended Duke University. Jayson Tatum averaged 16.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG in his lone season at Duke University before he was eventually drafted 13th overall by the Boston Celtics in 2017.

Joel Embiid | University of Kansas

Joel Embiid attended the University of Kansas. Joel Embiid averaged 11.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 1.4 APG in his lone season at the University of Kansas before he was eventually drafted 3rd overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2014.

Kyle Lowry | Villanova University

Kyle Lowry attended Villanova University. Kyle Lowry averaged 11.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.7 APG in his sophomore year at Villanova University before he was eventually drafted 24th overall by the Minnesota Grizzlies in 2006.

Chris Paul | Wake Forest University

Chris Paul attended Wake Forest University. Chris Paul averaged 15.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 6.6 APG in his sophomore year at Wake Forest University before he was eventually drafted 4th overall by the New Orleans Hornets in 2005.

Stephen Curry | Davidson College

Stephen Curry attended Davidson College. Stephen Curry averaged 28.6 PPG (leading Division I in scoring), 4.4 RPG, and 5.6 APG in his junior year at Davidson College before he was eventually drafted 7th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2009.

Klay Thompson | Washington State University

Klay Thompson attended Washington State University. Klay Thompson averaged 21.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 3.7 APG in his junior year at Washington State University before he was eventually drafted 11th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2011.

Paul George | Fresno State

Paul George attended Fresno State (California State University, Fresno). Paul George averaged 16.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 3.0 APG in his sophomore year at Fresno State before he was eventually drafted 10th overall by the Indiana Pacers in 2010.

Alex Caruso | Texas A&M University

Alex Caruso attended Texas A&M University. Alex Caruso averaged 8.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 5.0 APG in his senior year at Texas A&M University and went undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft. He spent some time playing in the G-League, first for the Oklahoma City Blue and later for the South Bay Lakers before eventually finding his way into a larger role on an NBA roster with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tyler Herro | University of Kentucky

Tyler Herro attended the University of Kentucky. Tyler Herro averaged 14.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 2.5 APG in his lone season at the University of Kentucky before he was eventually drafted 13th overall by the Miami Heat in 2019.

Duncan Robinson | Williams College

Duncan Robinson actually began his college career at Williams College (located in Williamstown, Massachusetts), a Division III school, but later walked on at the University of Michigan. Duncan Robinson averaged 9.2 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and 1.1 APG in his third year at the University of Michigan and went undrafted in the 2018 NBA draft. He spent some time playing in the G-League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce before eventually finding his way into a larger role on an NBA roster with the Miami Heat.

Bradley Beal | University of Florida

Bradley Beal attended the University of Florida. Bradley Beal averaged 14.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.2 APG in his lone season at the University of Florida before he was eventually drafted 3rd overall by the Washington Wizards in 2012.

Kemba Walker | University of Connecticut

Kemba Walker attended the University of Connecticut (UConn). Kemba Walker averaged 23.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 4.5 APG in his junior year at UConn before he was eventually drafted 9th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets) in 2011.

Kyrie Irving | Duke University

Kyrie Irving attended Duke University. Kyrie Irving averaged 17.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 4.3 APG (in only 11 games played) in his lone season at Duke University before he was eventually drafted 1st overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011.

Bam Adebayo | University of Kentucky

Bam Adebayo attended the University of Kentucky. Bam Adebayo averaged 13.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 0.8 APG in his lone season at the University of Kentucky before he was eventually drafted 14th overall by the Miami Heat in 2017.

Brandon Ingram | Duke University

Brandon Ingram attended Duke University. Brandon Ingram averaged 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 2.0 APG in his lone season at Duke University before he was eventually drafted 2nd overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016.

Trae Young | University of Oklahoma

Trae Young attended the University of Oklahoma. Trae Young averaged 27.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 8.7 APG (leading Division I in both scoring and assists) in his lone season at the University of Oklahoma before he was eventually drafted 5h overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 2018, but was quickly traded to the Atlanta Hawks (for Luka Dončić).

Khris Middleton | Texas A&M University

Khris Middleton attended Texas A&M University. Khris Middleton averaged 18.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 3.1 APG in his junior year at Texas A&M University before he was eventually drafted in the second round (39th overall) by the Detroit Pistons in 2012.

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How many of these NBA player’s colleges did you know? Did any of these players attend the same college as you? Stay tuned for our NFL version of this blog post, coming soon!


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