2021 Statistical Pac-12 NBA Draft Preview

Posted on July 28, 2021

  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

The Pac-12 had a stellar season on the floor last year, especially in the NCAA Tournament. That should translate to some success in the NBA Draft, but a bit of a step back for the Conference from a year ago when they saw 10 players selected and six in the First Round. 

2021 NBA Draft Pac-12 BaskeballThose six First Rounders in 2020 were tied with the SEC for the most of any league, and tied for the most first rounders from the Conference of Champions since 2009 (Also 6 in 2009,14 & 17). Only in 2008 when seven Pac-12ers went in the opening round did the conference have more.

The 10 overall draft picks selected from the Pac-12 last year marked the fourth time the Conference has seen double-digit draftees (11 in 2001, 12 in 2008 & 14 in 2017).

The quality of Basketball being played in the Pac-12 in recent years has not gone unnoticed by the NBA. Since 2017 the Pac-12 has produced 37 NBA Draft selections, the second most of any conference in the nation trailing only the ACC and their 45 picks—worth noting the ACC has 15 basketball playing members 

Pac-12The Pac-12 has seen at least one player selected in the First Round of the NBA draft in each of the last 32 drafts. The last time the Conference didn’t have a player taken in the first round was in 1988.

That streak will certainly continue Thursday evening as USC’s Evan Mobley is sure to hear his name called in the first three picks.

Mobley should be the first of three if not four former Pac-12 players to go in the First Round on Thursday night. 

Chris Duarte of Oregon should go in the teens, with Stanford’s Ziaire Williams going shortly after—or even shortly before Duarte.  Potentially joining those three in the first round and certainly being selected in the early Second-Round will be Josh Christopher from Arizona State.  

Chris Duarte | David Zalubowski\AP

The highest-ever draft selection from USC was OJ Mayo at No. 3 overall in 2008, and Evan Mobley should equal that if not set a new standard for the Trojans.

usc logoHe will also become the fifth USC player chosen in the last four seasons, and it will mark the first time since the draft went to two rounds in 1989 that the Trojans have had a player drafted in four consecutive drafts.

It will be just the second time ever that the Trojans have produced at least one draft pick in four straight seasons (Five straight from 1979-83). 

E. Mobley

Should Mobley end up going first or second overall, he would become the 18th player from the Pac-12 to be selected Number One or Two overall.  The 17 players selected in those spots overall in the NBA Draft; that is the third-most of any conference among current members, trailing only the 26 of the ACC and 23 of the Big Ten.

Since 2016, the Pac-12 has had three players selected in the top two and four go in the top three of the draft. Mobley will be the fifth Conference player in the Pac-12 Era to go in the top three and the sixth to be taken in the first five picks of the draft. 

During that time frame, the five top-five selections have come from four schools: Arizona (2), Washington, UCLA and CaL.  The Trojans would make five of 12 conference teams with a top-five selection since the expansion of Colorado and Utah. 

Oregon Ducks Logo Pac-12Oregon has had at least one player selected in each of the last four drafts. When Duarte’s name is called it will be the first time the Ducks have had a player selected in five straight years since they had a similar five year stretch from 1984-88. 

Again, worth noting, the modern two-round format came about in 1989, in ’84 there were 10 rounds, seven rounds in ‘85- ‘87 and three in the ’88 draft.

Stanford has a chance to have back-to-back seasons with a player drafted for the first time since 2014-15. Last year Tyrell Terry was the first, and that number could quickly double when Zaiare Williams is selected this year.


Josh Christopher has a chance to be the first Arizona State product selected since Carrick Felix went in the Second Round at pick No. 33 to Cleveland in 2013. The last time a Sun Devil went higher than 33rd was Jeff Pendergraph in 2009 at No. 31 to Sacramento.

That same 2009 Draft also marked the last time an ASU player went in the First Round with James Harden going third overall to Oklahoma City. 

Should the Conference only see those four selected, it would be the Pac-12’ s lowest number of players taken since 2012, when the conference only had three players taken. 

Combined First Round Pac-12 Draft Selections by Decade

Decade# Drafted
1940s (47-49)3
2020s (20)6

All-Time, 622 players from Pac-12 schools have been drafted. As one would expect, UCLA has had the most players selected with 118. 

Program1st Round2nd RoundTotal Drafted

(First and second round totals do not add up to the total drafted as it includes round 3-17 from earlier years.)

The 174 combined First Round draft picks from Pac-12 schools are the fourth most of any conference among current conference configurations.

Most NBA First Round Selections by Major Conference

ConferenceTotal Drafted
Big Ten182
Big East116
Big 12104

UCLA and Arizona both rank among the most in all-time first round selections by schools, with both in the top-12 nationally.

Most First Round NBA Selections All-Time

ProgramTotal First
Round Picks
North Carolina53
Ohio State23

Since the Conference expanded in 2011-2012 by adding Colorado and Utah, the league has seen a total of 68 players selected in the NBA Draft, with 37 going in the opening round. UCLA and Arizona have continued to lead the way. Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Colorado have seen the largest percentage of their all-time picks selected during the Pac-12 Era

ProgramPlayers Drafted
Pac-12 Era
% of Players
Drafted All-Time
from Pac-12 Era
[Read next: 2021 Pac-12 NBA Draft Capsules]

Follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenVilardo and his organization @SERCenter. Visit his website at sercstats.com.

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