If you want to be a professional athlete, the University of Arizona is a good place to hone your skills.
ESPN ranked the Top 25 “draft-producing” colleges since 2009, and the UA checked in at No. 23 overall, earning an “Ultimate Draft Score” of 743.0.
To calculate that score, ESPN included data from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA, MLL (lacrosse) and NFP (softball). These eight leagues were then weighted to account for the size of their draft pools.
College baseball draftees were only counted if they were selected in the first 10 rounds.
Taking all that into account, Arizona has had 65 student-athletes drafted since 2009. ESPN listed UA’s top draft-producing sports as baseball, football, and men’s basketball:
With a College World Series championship in 2012 and a runner-up finish in 2016, Arizona has had 27 players taken in the first 10 rounds of the MLB draft since 2009. Arizona men’s basketball has made the Elite Eight three times (2011, 2014, 2015) in the past decade and has had 12 players selected in the NBA draft during the time, the seventh-most by any school, including Deandre Ayton, who was taken No. 1 overall in 2018. The Wildcats have also sent 16 players to the NFL via the draft during the past 10 years.
Note that this evaluation does not include UA student-athletes who go pro in sports like golf, track, tennis, or swimming.
Softball was not listed as one of UA’s top draft-producing sports, but four Wildcats were taken in the 2017 NFP Draft which was the most of any school.
Football was listed, but Arizona has struggled to produce NFL Draft picks recently. Only three Wildcats were drafted from 2016-2018 and all three were selected in the fifth round or later. New head coach Kevin Sumlin had quite the track record at Texas A&M, though, so it would be surprising if Arizona doesn’t reverse that trend soon.
Other Pac-12 schools included in ESPN’s Top 25 are Stanford (22), Oregon (21), Cal (19), Washington (14), and UCLA (7).
One disadvantage Arizona has against schools like Cal, UW, Stanford, and UCLA is it does not have a men’s soccer team, thus it cannot produce any MLS Draft picks.
Here are all of Arizona’s first-round picks since 2009:
- Deandre Ayton (NBA, 2018)
- Lauri Markkanen (NBA, 2017)
- Kevin Newman (MLB, 2015)
- Stanley Johnson (NBA, 2015)
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (NBA, 2015)
- Aaron Gordon (NBA, 2014)
- Estela Pinon (NPF, 2014)
- Solomon Hill (NBA, 2013)
- Derrick Williams (NBA, 2011)
- Jordan Hill (NBA, 2009)