Imagine a player who is ranked 20th in the nation. Every school in the country has offered him a scholarship. He has no bias towards any school and no personal preferences. Where should he go if he wants to make it to the pros? Maybe he should go to a powerhouse like Kentucky or Duke. Maybe he wants to be the star on his team and should go to a smaller school like Marquette or Wake Forest. Today I will find out which college he should go to that will give him the highest chance to make it to the pros and become an all-star. I gathered data from every single school that had at least ten players from the ESPN 100 since 2007. Using this data I have definitively come up with the two best schools to go to if you want to make it to the pros and become an all-star. At first glance, two schools stand out immediately; Kentucky and Duke. These two powerhouses have not only received the most ESPN 100 prospects out of any school but have sent the most number of these prospects to the pros. Kentucky has sent 28 out of a total 42 ESPN 100 players to the pros, and Duke has sent 19 out of a total 33 ESPN 100 players to the pros. These two schools have also produced the most number of NBA all-stars; 3 and two respectively. When we look at the stats among top 25 recruits, which this imaginary player is, these two schools look even better. 90% of top 25 recruits get drafted at Kentucky, and 81% of top 25 recruits get drafted at Duke. So for this imaginary player, Kentucky or Duke will give him the best chance to get drafted and become an all-star.
Now, let’s imagine another player. This player is ranked 46th in the nation. He still has a choice of any school in the nation and again has no bias towards any school and no personal preferences. Even though recruits ranked higher than 25th have a significantly lower chance of making the pros, I do believe there is a school that puts this player in the best position to get drafted. Kentucky and Duke, again? No, it would not be a good idea for someone ranked higher than 25th to attend either Kentucky or Duke since no player who was ranked higher than 25th got drafted out of Kentucky and only two players ranked higher than 25th got drafted out of Duke. So this player should start to look for other options. The school that I believe this player should attend is UCLA. UCLA has a good track record of getting players into the pros with 51% of their ESPN 100 recruits getting drafted, however, 7 of their 17 total recruits ranked higher than 25th have gotten drafted, by far the highest mark of any school.
Looking at the numbers, it is no surprise that so many top recruits attend these blue-blood programs. Duke, Kentucky, and UCLA truly do put their players in the best position to make it to the NBA and the numbers back it up.