Three Blue Devils Look Ahead to NBA Draft Thursday

Matthew Hurt | Photo: Chris Summerville

The 2021 NBA Draft is set for Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with the Duke men’s basketball program looking to continue its recent draft dominance.

The 2020-21 ACC Most Improved Player, Matthew Hurt, joined a pair of talented freshmen – Jalen Johnson and DJ Steward – in declaring for this year’s draft. Johnson is one of 20 players who received an invitation to the NBA Draft Green Room – a staging area in front of the NBA draft podium where players, families and agents await league commissioner Adam Silver to call each selection.

Should all three be drafted, it would mark the fourth consecutive season and fifth time in the last six years that at least three Blue Devils heard their names called on draft night. In the 2020 draft, which was held virtually in November for the first time in league history, Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr. (Charlotte Hornets – 32nd overall), Tre Jones (San Antonio Spurs – 41st overall) and Cassius Stanley (Indiana Pacers – 54th overall) were each chosen in the second round, giving the Blue Devils a total of 100 NBA Draft picks all-time.

Since the inception of the Draft Lottery in 1985, no team nor coach has produced more lottery picks than the 28 by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. The fact becomes even more impressive when considering the rest of the field had a four-year head start on the Blue Devils before Danny Ferry became the school’s first lottery pick in 1989. Coach K has also produced 41 total first-round selections during his tenure, the most by a college coach in the history of the NBA Draft.

Dating back to 1956, Duke has had three or more players selected in 11 different NBA Drafts. The Blue Devils have also had at least one first-round selection in eight of the past nine years, including at least one lottery selection in six consecutive drafts from 2014-19.

The 2021 NBA Draft begins at 8 p.m. ET with coverage on ABC, ESPN and the WatchESPN app.

Duke in the Draft

  • Duke has produced a total of 100 NBA Draft picks all-time.
  • Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has coached a total of 67 NBA Draft picks since taking over the Duke program in 1980-81.
  • The Blue Devils have had at least one player selected in 21 of the last 23 NBA Drafts, including 33 first-round picks in that time.
  • Duke has had at least one player taken in 33 of the 40 NBA Drafts in the Krzyzewski Era.
  • Duke players have been selected by 29 of the 30 current NBA franchises, with only the Toronto Raptors having never drafted a Blue Devil.
  • The franchise to have drafted the most Blue Devils is Detroit (nine), followed by seven for Chicago, and six each for Golden State and Boston.

Duke in the First Round

  • Duke’s 45 first-round selections in the Common Draft era (since 1966) are third most all-time, including 41 under Coach K.
  • Duke’s 41 first-round selections in the Lottery era (since 1985) are the second most in the country, behind Kentucky’s 44.
  • Coach K’s 41 first-round picks are the most by a college coach in the history of the NBA Draft.
  • Duke has produced four No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft, the most in draft history.
  • The 2020 draft ended a streak of six years in which Duke had a player selected in the top 3 overall – the longest streak by any program all-time.
  • Duke’s 28 NBA lottery picks – all coached by Coach K – are the most by both a college program and college coach.
  • An NCAA-leading 23 lottery selections have come from Duke since 1999, when the Blue Devils had three.
  • In the Lottery Era (since 1985), Duke has produced 14 top-three picks; the next-closest total nationally is five (Kentucky).
  • Duke’s 17 top-10 picks since 2000 are the most in the nation in that timeframe, leading Kentucky (13), Connecticut (8), Arizona (8), Texas (8) and Kansas (7).
  • The Blue Devils have produced 16 first-round picks in the last seven years: Grayson AllenMarvin Bagley IIIRJ BarrettWendell Carter Jr.Harry GilesRodney HoodBrandon IngramTyus JonesLuke KennardJahlil OkaforJabari ParkerMason PlumleeCam ReddishJayson TatumZion Williamson and Justise Winslow.
  • Sixteen of Duke’s last 21 NBA Draft picks, and 23 of the last 31, have come in the first round, including 16 lottery picks.

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