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Illinois, North Carolina headline states with most No. 1 overall picks in NBA Draft

Two states comprise nearly 20 percent of overall top picks.

The first NBA Draft took place in 1947 when the Pittsburgh Ironmen selected Clifton McNeely out of Texas Wesleyan with the No. 1 overall selection. He was the first of five No. 1 picks from Texas. The other four selections from the Lone Star State were Howie Shannon in 1949, Larry Johnson in 1991, Shaquille O’Neal in 1992 and Kenyon Martin in 2000.

Despite Texas’ early run at the top of the draft, Illinois and North Carolina claim the top spot on the list with seven No. 1 selections apiece. Walt Bellamy, Jimmy Walker, David Thompson, John Lucas, James Worthy, Brad Daugherty and John Wall were each top picks from the Tar Heel State. Gene Melchiorre, Cazzie Russell, LaRue Martin, Doug Collins, Mark Aguirre, Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis were top selections from the Land of Lincoln.

Georgia has established itself as a hotbed for elite talent in recent years as the only state with three No. 1 overall selections since the turn of the century. The Peach State saw Kwame Brown selected No. 1 in 2001, Dwight Howard drafted first in 2003 and Anthony Edwards picked with the top selection in 2020.

New York hasn’t produced a No. 1 overall selection since Elton Brand was selected in 1999 but produced five top picks from 1953 through 1970, including six-time NBA MVP Lew Alcindor in 1969.

Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) and Charleston (W.Va.) are the only high schools that have produced two No. 1 selections. Montverde Academy saw Ben Simmons drafted No. 1 by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016 and Cade Cunningham selected first by the Detroit Pistons in 2021. Charleston alumni Mark Workman was taken No. 1 in 1952 and Hot Rod Hundley was picked by the Cincinnati Royals in 1957.

In total, 27 states have produced a No. 1 pick. Washington is among 11 states with one — with Paolo Banchero being selected by the Orlando Magic last year in the 2022 NBA Draft.

If Victor Wembanyama goes No. 1 to the San Antonio Spurs tonight, he would mark the seventh international player selected atop the NBA Draft. Wembanyama would join Andrea Bargnani (2006), Andrew Bogut (2005), Yao Ming (2002), Michael Olowokandi (1998), Tim Duncan (1997) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1984).

T1. Illinois — 7
2012: Anthony Davis, Perspectives Charter (Chicago)
2008: Derrick Rose, Simeon (Chicago)
1981: Mark Aguirre, Westinghouse (Chicago)
1973: Doug Collins, Benton
1972: LaRue Martin, De La Salle (Chicago)
1966: Cazzier Russell, Carver (Chicago)
1951: Gene Melchiorre, Highland Park

T1. North Carolina — 7
2010: John Wall, Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh)
1986: Brad Daugherty, Owen (Black Mountain)
1982: James Worthy, Ashbrook (Gastonia)
1976: John Lucas, Hillside (Durham)
1975: David Thompson, Crest (Shelby)
1967: Jimmy Walker, Laurinburg Prep (Laurinburg)
1961: Walt Bellamy, J.T. Barber (New Bern)

3. New York — 6
1999: Elton Brand, Peekskill
1970: Bob Lanier, Lewis J. Bennett (Buffalo)
1969: Lew Alcindor, Power Memorial Academy (New York)
1963: Art Heyman, Oceanside
1956: Si Green, Boys & Girls (Brooklyn)
1953: Ray Felix, Metropolitan (Bronx)

4. Texas — 5
2000: Kenyon Martin, Adams (Dallas)
1992: Shaquille O’Neal, Cole (San Antonio)
1991: Larry Johnson, Skyline (Dallas)
1949: Howie Shannon, Munday
1947: Clifton McNeeley, Slidell

T5. Georgia — 4
2020: Anthony Edwards, Holy Spirit Prep (Atlanta)
2004: Dwight Howard, Southwest Atlanta Christian (Atlanta)
2001: Kwame Brown, Glynn Academy (Brunswick)
1989: Pervis Ellison, Savannah

T5. Indiana — 4
2007: Greg Oden, Lawrence North (Indianapolis)
1994: Glenn Robinson, Roosevelt (Gary)
1977: Kent Benson, New Castle
1960: Oscar Robertson, Crispus Attucks (Indianapolis)

T5. Virginia — 4
1996: Allen Iverson, Bethel (Hampton)
1995: Joe Smith, Maury (Norfolk)
1987: David Robinson, Osbourn Park (Manassas)
1983: Ralph Sampson, Harrisonburg

T5. West Virginia — 4
2013: Andrew Wiggins, Huntington Prep (Huntington)
1957: Hot Rod Hundley, Charleston
1952: Mark Workman, Charleston
1948: Andy Tonkovich, Union (Mount Storm)

T9. Florida — 3
2021: Cade Cunningham, Montverde Academy (Montverde)
2016: Ben Simmons, Montverde Academy
1978: Mychal Thompson, Jackson (Miami)

T9. Michigan — 3
1993: Chris Webber, Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills)
1990: Derrick Coleman, Northern (Detroit)
1979: Magic Johnson, Everett (Lansing)

T11. California — 2
1974: Bill Walton, Helix (La Mesa)
1962: Bill McGill, Jefferson (Los Angeles)

T11. District of Columbia — 2
1971: Austin Carr, Mackin
1958: Elgin Baylor, Spingarn

T11. Maryland — 2
2017: Markelle Fultz, DeMatha (Hyattsville)
1965: Fred Hetzel, Landon (Bethesda)

T11. New Jersey — 2
2015: Karl-Anthony Towns, St. Joseph (Metuchen)
2011: Kyrie Irving, Patrick School (Hillside)

T11. Ohio — 2
2003: LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron)
1950: Chuck Share, Western Hills (Cincinnati)

T11. Oklahoma — 2
2009: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma Christian (Edmond)
1964: Jim Barnes, Stillwater

T17. Arizona — 1
2018: DeAndre Ayton, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix)

T17. Colorado — 1
1980: Joe Barry Carroll, Denver East (Denver)

T17. Kansas — 1
1988: Danny Manning, Lawrence

T17. Kentucky — 1
1954: Frank Selvy, Corbin

T17. Louisiana — 1
1968: Elvin Hayes, Eula D. Britton (Rayville)

T17. Massachusetts — 1
1985: Patrick Ewing, Cambridge Rindge & Latin (Cambridge)

T17. Nebraska — 1
1959: Bob Boozer, Omaha Technical (Omaha)

T17. Nevada — 1
2013: Anthony Bennett, Findlay Prep (Henderson)

T17. Pennsylvania — 1
1955: Dick Ricketts, Pottstown

T17. South Carolina — 1
2019: Zion Williamson, Spartanburg Day (Spartanburg)

T17. Washington — 1
2022: Paolo Banchero, O’Dea (Seattle)

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