College Basketball Content

Where the NBA Players Come From

Just as last season (and the season before, and the season before that), players from Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and North Carolina head list of colleges with most players on 2015-16 NBA Opening-Day Rosters
 

Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina are at the head of the list of 111 Division I colleges that have one or more former players on 2015-16 NBA opening-day rosters, which was Tuesday, October 27, 2015. These same four teams led the pack last year in a different order, with the Wildcats and Blue Devils tied for the top spot with 18, Kansas had 17, and North Carolina 16 former players on NBA rosters. These four teams have led all other teams for the past four seasons with minor changes in the order. The Wildcats are up from 18 players last season, when they were tied with Duke. The 21 players KU has this year ties them with the 2013-14 season when they also had 21 at the head of the list. Twenty-one (21) is the largest number of former players from one school on opening-day rosters since we began compiling this list on a yearly basis 28 years ago. UCLA (14), Arizona (13), and Florida (10) round out those schools with a double-digit number of former players on NBA opening-round rosters this season. 

Collegiate Basketball News' Jim Sukup has been tracking the origin of NBA players on NBA opening-day rosters since the 1986-1987 season. There are four categories of players in the current list: 1) NBA players that attended Division I colleges; 2) NBA players that attended non-Division I colleges, including junior colleges; 3) NBA players that went from U.S. high schools directly to the NBA without attending college; and 4) Foreign players that have no U.S. college experience. Foreign players that played for U.S. colleges are shown on the college list rather than on the foreign players list. That explains the discrepancy between the number of foreign players shown on this list and the larger number of "international players" that are reported by the NBA or are found on other lists. This season the NBA lists 100 players this season, which is down one from last season.

It is informative to compare the data on the current list with the list that was compiled for the 1986-1987 season (see the January 26, 1987 issue of Basketball Weekly titled " ACC, Big Ten Most Generous with NBA", by Jim Sukup). Back then there were 23 teams in the NBA (compared with 30 today), there were a total of 301 players on NBA opening-day rosters (compared with 446 on the 2015-16 opening-day roster list), and there was no list of the number of foreign players in the league (although several foreign players on those NBA rosters had played for U.S. colleges). UCLA headed the colleges with 9 former players in the NBA, and the ACC was at the top of the conference list with 34 players on the 1986-87 NBA opening-day roster list.

The ACC heads the list of conferences for the sixth consecutive year in producing the most NBA players of any conference, with 75. That is good for an average of 5.0 former players per school, which is second in that category. The Pac-12 tops the list with an average of 5.2 players for its 12 schools, with a total of 62 players. The Pac-12 is followed by the ACC, the SEC with 56 players and an average of 3.9 players per team. The Big 12 comes in 4th with 34 players in the NBA and an average of 3.4 former players per school, the Big Ten has 36 players in the NBA for an average of 2.6 players per school, the Big East has 24 players for a 2.4 average, the Mountain West has 15 former players in the NBA for a 1.4 average, and the American has 13 in the NBA with 1.2 players per school. As the last three seasons, the Pac-12 is the only conference that has all schools represented on NBA rosters at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. The ACC had 14 of 15 schools with former players on NBA opening-day rosters this season, the Big East had 8 of 10, the Big Ten had 11 of 14, the SEC had 10 of 14, the Mountain West had 7 of 11, the Atlantic 10 had 7 of 14, and Big 12 had 5 of 10. Fifteen conferences had 3, 2, or 1 former players representing their schools in the NBA, and six conferences had no NBA players on 2015-16 NBA opening-day rosters.

There were 66 foreign players on 2015-16 NBA opening-day rosters that did not play in U.S. colleges, or 14.1% of the NBA total. That is 4 more foreign players than last season. A total of 18 players went straight from U.S. high schools to the NBA (4.0% of the NBA total), and 2 players attended non-Division I colleges. Division I colleges provide the balance of 360 NBA players (80.7%). Foreign players that played at U.S. colleges are counted under the appropriate Division I school listing. The NBA counts 100 "international" players on opening-day rosters this season. 

The average NBA player at the start of the 2015-16 season was 26.86 years old (26.87 last season) and had 4.96 years of NBA experience (4.96 last season). NBA team averages for these categories are 26.96 and 4.96, respectively, as shown in the accompanying tables. Players on the San Antonio Spurs averaged 30.47 years of age, making them the oldest of all 30 NBA teams, and they averaged 8.00 years of NBA playing experience, which also leads in this category. The Philadelphia 76ers are the youngest team in the league in averaging 22.73 years of age, and they also have an average of 1.60 years of experience, the least in the league.

Young basketball players that believe they might have a long NBA career should take a look at the second-to-last table on this page because it contains some eye-opening data. This table shows the number of NBA players with the corresponding number of years of NBA experience. For example, there are 60 rookie players on opening-day rosters this season that had no NBA experience coming into this season, and they make up 13.5% of the total number of NBA players. A bit under half (46.6%) of NBA players are rookies or have only 1, 2, or 3 years of NBA playing experience. Are you convinced that you will have a long, productive NBA career? This is very unlikely because only 56 players (12.5%) on 2015-16 NBA opening-day rosters have more than 10 years of NBA experience, and only 11 have 15 or more years of NBA experience!

Player turnover in the NBA is always ongoing, and one only needs to look at the roster of your favorite NBA team and compare it to last year to underscore this fact. Only exceptional talent lasts in the NBA for any length of time. The NBA player with the most playing experience this season is Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who has 20 years on the books. Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers has 19 years of NBA playing experience, and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs is next with 18 years of service. Who is the oldest current player in the league? That honor belongs to Andre Miller of the Timberwolves, born on 3/19/76, who is just slightly older than Duncan (4/25/76) and Garnett (5/19/76). Our annual salute is due these players for their outstanding NBA longevity. Enjoy them this season, because it may be too late to do so next season.   

The last table on this page lists NBA coaches as of 2015-16 opening-day rosters and the college that they attended. Arizona State, Iowa State and Kentucky head the list with 2 NBA coaches each. It's interesting that 4 NBA coaches attended college at non-Division I institutions.

The following lists are based upon NBA Opening-Day rosters for the 2015-16 season, which was Tuesday, October 27, 2015. The conference list includes only current school affiliations for the 2015-16 season. Team and conference lists include players on the active NBA roster list (13 active players are allowed per NBA team at any given time) and inactive list (maximum of 2 inactive players allowed).

Copyright © 2016 by Collegiate Basketball News Co. All Rights Reserved.

Where Current NBA Players Come From by Division I Conference, Non-Division I College, High School, and Foreign Origin

                       # Schools W/   Players    Avg. # NBA 
Conference (# teams)    NBA Players   in NBA    Players/Team
Pacific 12 (12)             12          62         5.2
Atlantic Coast (15)         14          75         5.0
Southeastern (14)           10          56         4.0
Big 12 (10)                  5          34         3.4
Big Ten (14)                11          36         2.6
Big East (10)                8          24         2.4
Mountain West (11)           7          15         1.4
American (11)                5          13         1.2
Atlantic 10 (14)             7           9         0.6
Conference USA (14)          5           6         0.4
Ohio Valley (12)             4           5         0.4
West Coast (10)              2           4         0.4
Mid-American (12)            3           3         0.3
Colonial (10)                2           2         0.2
Horizon (10)                 2           2         0.2
Patriot (10)                 2           2         0.2
Sun Belt (11)                2           2         0.2
Big Sky (12)                 2           2         0.2
Ivy League (8)               1           1         0.1
Western Athletic (8)         1           1         0.1
Big West (9)                 1           1         0.1
Summit (9)                   1           1         0.1
Missouri Valley (10)         1           1         0.1
Southern (10)                1           1         0.1
Metro Atlantic (11)          1           1         0.1
Mid-Eastern (13)             1           1         0.1
America East (9)             0           0         0.0
Atlantic Sun (8)             0           0         0.0
Big South (11)               0           0         0.0
Northeast (10)               0           0         0.0
Southland (13)               0           0         0.0
Southwestern (10)            0           0         0.0
Total Division I           111         360
                   Non-Division          2
                   High School          18
                   Foreign              66
                   Total in NBA        446
*Note: # foreign players does not include those that played for U.S. colleges


Division I Schools Ranked by Number of Players in NBA

                                No. Players
    Rank School                    In NBA
       1 Kentucky                    21
       2 Kansas                      19
       3 Duke                        18
       4 North Carolina              16
       5 UCLA                        14
       6 Arizona                     13
       7 Florida                     10
       8 Syracuse                     8
       8 Texas                        8
       8 Washington                   8
      11 Connecticut                  7
      12 Georgia Tech                 6
      12 LSU                          6
      12 Michigan                     6
      12 Michigan St.                 6
      12 Southern Cal                 6
      12 Wake Forest                  6
      18 Georgetown                   5
      18 Marquette                    5
      18 Ohio St.                     5
      18 Stanford                     5
      18 UNLV                         5
      18 Wisconsin                    5
      24 Arkansas                     4
      24 Colorado                     4
      24 Indiana                      4
      24 Louisville                   4
      24 Oklahoma St.                 4
      24 Tennessee                    4
      24 Villanova                    4
      31 Alabama                      3
      31 Creighton                    3
      31 Maryland                     3
      31 Memphis                      3
      31 Nevada                       3
      31 Pittsburgh                   3
      31 St. John's                   3
      31 Texas A&M                    3
      31 Utah                         3
      31 Virginia                     3
      41 Baylor                       2
      41 Boston College               2
      41 Butler                       2
      41 California                   2
      41 Clemson                      2
      41 Dayton                       2
      41 Fresno St.                   2
      41 Gonzaga                      2
      41 Illinois                     2
      41 Miami-FL                     2
      41 Missouri                     2
      41 Murray St.                   2
      41 New Mexico                   2
      41 Notre Dame                   2
      41 N.C. State                   2
      41 Oregon                       2
      41 Oregon St.                   2
      41 Purdue                       2
      41 Saint Joseph's               2
      41 St. Mary's                   2
      41 Vanderbilt                   2
      41 Washington St.               2
      41 Western Kentucky             2
      64 Arizona St.                  1
      64 Belmont                      1
      64 Bowling Green                1
      64 Bucknell                     1
      64 Central Michigan             1
      64 Cincinnati                   1
      64 Cleveland St.                1
      64 Colorado St.                 1
      64 Davidson                     1
      64 DePaul                       1
      64 Detroit                      1
      64 Eastern Wash.                1
      64 Georgia                      1
      64 Georgia St.                  1
      64 Harvard                      1
      64 Houston                      1
      64 Iowa                         1
      64 IUPUI                        1
      64 La Salle                     1
      64 Lehigh                       1
      64 Long Beach St.               1
      64 Louisiana Tech               1
      64 Marshall                     1
      64 Minnesota                    1
      64 Morehead St.                 1
      64 Norfolk St.                  1
      64 Northeastern                 1
      64 Oklahoma                     1
      64 Old Dominion                 1
      64 Penn St.                     1
      64 Rider                        1
      64 Saint Louis                  1
      64 San Diego St.                1
      64 St. Bonaventure              1
      64 Temple                       1
      64 Tennessee St.                1
      64 Towson                       1
      64 UAB                          1
      64 UL Lafayette                 1
      64 Utah Valley                  1
      64 VCU                          1
      64 Virginia Tech                1
      64 Weber St.                    1
      64 Western Carolina             1
      64 Western Michigan             1
      64 Wichita St.                  1
      64 Wyoming                      1
      64 Xavier                       1

         Total Division I           360
         Non-Division I               2
         High School                 18
         Foreign                     66
         Total in NBA 2014-15       446


NBA Teams Sorted by Average Experience

                                Avg.     Avg.
Team                            Exp.     Age
San Antonio                     8.00    30.47
Miami                           7.20    28.53
Memphis                         7.00    28.67
Dallas                          7.00    28.87
Washington                      6.87    28.13
LA Clippers                     6.87    28.73
Cleveland                       6.80    28.40
New Orleans                     6.13    27.07
Golden State                    5.73    26.73
Houston                         5.36    26.21
Chicago                         5.27    27.33
New York                        5.14    26.86
LA Lakers                       5.13    26.73
Minnesota                       5.13    26.93
Sacramento                      5.00    26.27
Denver                          4.93    25.80
Oklahoma City                   4.67    25.87
Brooklyn                        4.53    25.80
Atlanta                         4.47    26.73
Indiana                         4.47    25.60
Detroit                         4.33    26.00
Charlotte                       4.33    25.20
Phoenix                         4.07    25.79
Toronto                         3.87    25.13
Boston                          3.47    24.47
Orlando                         3.29    24.57
Portland                        3.00    24.00
Milwaukee                       2.93    23.93
Utah                            2.13    24.07
Philadelphia                    1.60    22.73
Average Per Team                4.96    26.39
 
 
Sorted by Average Age
                                Avg.     Avg.
Team                            Exp.     Age
San Antonio                     8.00    30.47
Dallas                          7.00    28.87
LA Clippers                     6.87    28.73
Memphis                         7.00    28.67
Miami                           7.20    28.53
Cleveland                       6.80    28.40
Washington                      6.87    28.13
Chicago                         5.27    27.33
New Orleans                     6.13    27.07
Minnesota                       5.13    26.93
New York                        5.14    26.86
Atlanta                         4.47    26.73
LA Lakers                       5.13    26.73
Golden State                    5.73    26.73
Sacramento                      5.00    26.27
Houston                         5.36    26.21
Detroit                         4.33    26.00
Oklahoma City                   4.67    25.87
Brooklyn                        4.53    25.80
Denver                          4.93    25.80
Phoenix                         4.07    25.79
Indiana                         4.47    25.60
Charlotte                       4.33    25.20
Toronto                         3.87    25.13
Orlando                         3.29    24.57
Boston                          3.47    24.47
Utah                            2.13    24.07
Portland                        3.00    24.00
Milwaukee                       2.93    23.93
Philadelphia                    1.60    22.73
Average Per Team                4.96    26.39
 

Years of Experience for NBA Players

   No. Years NBA     No. NBA                   Cumulative
     Experience      Players    Percentage     Percentage
          0            60          .135           .135
          1            62          .139           .274
          2            40          .090           .363
          3            46          .103           .466
          4            31          .070           .536
          5            32          .072           .608
          6            30          .067           .675
          7            33          .074           .749
          8            22          .049           .798
          9            13          .029           .827
         10            18          .040           .868
         11            16          .036           .904
         12            18          .040           .944
         13             8          .018           .962
         14             6          .013           .975
         15             3          .007           .982
         16             2          .004           .987
         17             3          .007           .993
         18             1          .002           .996
         19             1          .002           .998
         20             1          .002          1.000
                      446


NBA Coaches and College Attended

Team                     Coach                College
Brooklyn Nets            Lionel Hollins       Arizona State
Los Angeles Lakers       Byron Scott          Arizona State
Chicago Bulls            Fred Hoiberg         Iowa State
Phoenix Suns             Jeff Hornacek        Iowa State
Indiana Pacers           Frank Vogel          Kentucky
Toronto Raptors          Dwane Casey          Kentucky
Atlanta Hawks            Mike Budenholzer     Pomona
Boston Celtics           Brad Stevens         DePauw
Charlotte Hornets        Steve Clifford       Maine-Farmington
Cleveland Cavaliers      David Blatt          Princeton
Dallas Mavericks         Rick Carlisle        Virginia
Denver Nuggets           Mike Malone          Loyola-Maryland
Detroit Pistons          Stan Van Gundy       SUNY-Brockport
Golden State Warriers    Steve Kerr           Arizona
Houston Rockets          Kevin McHale         Minnesota
Los Angeles Clippers     Doc Rivers           Marquette
Memphis Grizzlies        David Joerger        Moorhead State
Miami Heat               Erik Spoelstra       Portland
Milwaukee Bucks          Jason Kidd           California
Minnesota Timberwolves   Sam Mitchell         Mercer
New Orleans Pelicans     Alvin Gentry         Appalachian State
New York Knicks          Derek Fisher         UALR
Oklahoma City Thunder    Billy Donovan        Providence
Orlando Magic            Scott Skiles         Michigan State
Philadelphia 76ers       Brett Brown          Boston University
Portland Trail Blazers   Terry Stotts         Oklahoma
Sacramento Kings         George Karl          North Carolina
San Antonio Spurs        Gregg Popovich       Air Force Academy
Utah Jazz                Quin Snyder          Duke
Washington Wizards       Randy Wittman        Indiana