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2009 NBA All Stars

The Best College Teams Don't Produce the Best Pros

By

Shaquille O'Neal

Here's LSU's Shaquille O'Neal -- before the NBA, before the rap records, before the movies -- and about 100 pounds ago, dunking on Southeastern Louisiana back in 1991. The profile might be a bit thinner, but it will still resonate with NBA fans.

Getty Images / Brad Messina
By just about any standard, North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA are the top five teams in college basketball. But not when you're talking about producing NBA All-Stars -- not this year, anyway. The Kansas Jayhawks are the only one of those five teams that will be represented at the 2009 NBA All Star Game -- Boston's Paul Pierce has the honor.

The "power conferences" didn't fare much better in this year's all star selections. There are as many players from the Mountain West (Indiana's Danny Granger, who played at New Mexico) and Conference USA (Dwyane Wade played for Marquette before they jumped to the Big East) as from the mighty Big East (Allen Iverson), Big Ten (Wisconsin's Devin Harris), or Pac 10 (Washington's Brandon Roy) and as many from the Atlantic Ten (Jameer Nelson of St. Joseph's and David West of Xavier) as the Big 12 (Pierce and Colorado's Chauncey Billups) or SEC (Shaquille O'Neal from LSU and Joe Johnson, from Arkansas). The ACC is the only conference with as many as three all stars, with two Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Tim Duncan and Chris Paul) and one Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket (Chris Bosh).

Ten of the 24 all stars didn't play in college at all... six made the jump to the NBA directly from high school -- Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Rashard Lewis, and international arrivals Yao Ming (China), Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), Tony Parker (France) and Pau Gasol (Spain) complete the rosters.

2009 NBA All Stars

PlayerNBA TeamCollege TeamCollege Conference
Rashard LewisOrlandoAlief Elsik HS (TX)n/a
Joe JohnsonAtlantaArkansasSEC
Yao MingHoustonChinan/a
Chauncey BillupsDenverColoradoBig 12
Amare StoudemirePhoenixCypress Creek (Orlando, FL)n/a
Kevin GarnettBostonFarragut Academy (HS)n/a
Tony ParkerSan AntonioFrancen/a
Allen IversonDetroitGeorgetownBig East
Chris BoshTorontoGeorgia TechACC
Dirk NowitzkiDallasGermanyn/a
Paul PierceBostonKansasBig 12
Shaquille O'NealPhoenixLouisiana StateSEC
Kobe BryantL.A. LakersLower Merion HSn/a
Dwyane WadeMiamiMarquetteC-USA
Danny GrangerIndianaNew MexicoMountain West
Jameer NelsonOrlandoSaint Joseph'sA-10
Pau GasolL.A. LakersSpainn/a
LeBron JamesClevelandSt. Vincent/St. Mary HSHigh School
Dwight HowardOrlandoSW Atlanta Christian Academy (GA)n/a
Chris PaulNew OrleansWake ForestACC
Tim DuncanSan AntonioWake ForestACC
Brandon RoyPortlandWashingtonPac 10
Devin HarrisNew JerseyWisconsinBig 10
David WestNew OrleansXavier (OH)A-10
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