The Most Decorated Colleges in NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award History

The NBA has seen a lot of outstanding young players throughout the years, and the Rookie of the Year award is one of the most desired honours for these developing talents. For this reason, some of the top NBA players of all time have come from some of the most respected colleges in the United States. In this article, we look at the top five universities that have produced the most Rookie of the Year award winners in NBA history.


Louisiana State University (LSU) – 3 

Indeed, LSU has a long basketball history and is known for generating some of the most dominant players in the NBA. Three LSU players have won the Rookie of the Year honour. Bob Pettit, one of the game’s most underappreciated players, won the award in 1955. Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most dominant centres in NBA history, earned the award in 1993. Most recently, Ben Simmons won the award in 2018, capping off a fantastic debut season with the Philadelphia 76ers.

O’Neal in lakers kit.

Syracuse University – 3

Evidently, Syracuse University has produced some of the NBA’s most dynamic players. In NBA history, the Orange have had three Rookie of the Year award winners. In 1967, Dave Bing won the honour, followed by Derrick Coleman in 1991 and Michael Carter-Williams in 2014. Lastly, each of these players has made an indelible mark on the game of basketball.

Carter Williams, Michael.


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – 3

UCLA is one of the most decorated universities in college basketball history, having produced some of the best players in NBA history. First, the University has had three Rookie of the Year award winners. Lew Alcindor, better known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, received the award in 1969. Additionally, Sidney Wicks received the prize in 1972, and Jamaal Wilkes received it in 1975.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


Duke University – 3 

Certainly, Duke University has a proud basketball legacy, producing some of the best NBA players of all time. Also, the University has had four Rookie of the Year award winners, beginning with Grant Hill in 1994 and continuing with Elton Brand in 1999, Kyrie Irving in 2011, and Paolo Banchero, who recently committed for team USA for the FIBA World Cup, in 2023. In addition, these players have all had great NBA careers, and Duke has established itself as one of the country’s top basketball programmes.

2023 Rookie of the year winner, Paolo.


University of North Carolina (UNC) – Five

UNC has produced some of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. The Tar Heels have had five Rookie of the Year winners, including Bob McAdoo in 1973, Walter Davis in 1978, Phil Ford in 1979, Michael Jordan in 1985, and Vince Carter in 1999. Finally, each of these players has had a tremendous impact on the game of basketball and is regarded as one of the best players of all time.

Michael Jordan in Chicago Bulls kit 




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