TooAthletic Takes

When you think about the University of Kentucky, you think about one of the blue bloods of college basketball, with head coach John Calipari producing 22 NBA Lottery Picks since took over the team in 2009-10.  Perhaps now that the 2019 NFL, MLB and NBA drafts are complete, the Wildcats, with at least one player drafted in the first-round of all three drafts, can make the claim that they are the best college athletics program in the country.

Almost two dozen different colleges saw one of their student/athletes selected in the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association drafts; with only Kentucky having first-round draft picks in all three.  In fact, Kentucky had five first-round picks across the three drafts (three in the NBA, one each in the NFL and MLB), most in the nation; four schools, Clemson, Duke, Mississippi State and North Carolina each had four first rounders.

It wasn’t only the first round where the Wildcats can make their claim as the having the best athletic programs in the United States; out of the 65 schools in the Power Five conferences, only one-third (22) had at least one player drafted in the three drafts. Of those 22 athletic departments, Kentucky was one of only five schools with more than one player selected in each draft; the other schools were Florida State, Michigan, Virginia and Washington. 

It should be noted that of these five schools, Washington, with 16, had more athletics selected across the three drafts than any other school, with Michigan (12) second, Kentucky (11) third, Florida State and Virginia (8) tied for fourth most.  Also, with 17 overall players drafted, Mississippi State leads all schools with the most student/athletes drafted in 2019.

When it comes to first round draft picks in baseball, basketball or football, at least for 2019, the Kentucky Wildcats can put their name into the hat as the best athletic department across the three major sports.  And with the Wildcats tied for seventh in the Southeastern Conference with their 11 overall players drafted, the SEC is definitely setting the standard for college sports overall.  If only Alabama, who had ten players added to the NFL from their Crimson Tide squad and five players drafted by MLB, could’ve found a way to get one hoopster drafted this year, perhaps this conversation would have been redder instead of blue.  Maybe next year, The Tide will roll through all three drafts.

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