The best in college basketball end up in the NBA. And we don't just mean players.
While the NBA draft is the annual event that officially plucks college's top players away from school and onto professional rosters, the pro game also regularly looks down to the college level for coaching talent.
Nine of the 30 current NBA head coaches have spent time coaching at the collegiate level, including two who ran major programs. Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens led Butler to two NCAA title appearances in six seasons as head coach, while new Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder spent seven years at the helm of Missouri and got the Tigers into the Elite Eight in 2002.
Whenever a head coaching gig opens in the NBA, at least one of the candidates mentioned for the opening comes from the collegiate level. Florida's Billy Donovan, Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg and Michigan State's Tom Izzo were all mentioned for the Minnesota Timberwolves vacancy, while Kentucky's John Calipari reportedly "had gone deep in discussions" for the Cleveland Cavaliers job before re-upping with the Wildcats.
Calipari had also been considered "a done deal" to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a tweet from former NBA player Rex Chapman that went out right before the NCAA title game.
There are plenty of other current college basketball head coaches that will get linked to future NBA openings, and some of them—like Stevens did last July—will make the leap. If this were a list of coaches who are most likely to be considered for an NBA job, it would be much larger; instead, we've capped it at 20 and put only those most likely to accept a pro offer.
Because of that, you won't find Louisville's Rick Pitino or Duke's Mike Krzyzewski on this list. Pitino has already dipped his toes in the NBA waters (and only one of his five-plus seasons ended with a winning record) and at 61 isn't apt to make that jump again. And Krzyzewski would have left college long ago if he wanted to be a pro coach, which he's gotten to be off and on since 1987—and consecutively since 2006—as head coach of the U.S. men's national team in international competition.
The list is in alphabetical order, not ranked by the likelihood of them leaving for the pros.