College Basketball Content

Where the NBA Players Come From

Like a broken record, players from Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and Kansas dominate 2013-14 NBA Opening-Day Rosters
 

 Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and Kansas lead the pack of 113 Division I teams that have one or more former players on 2013-14 NBA opening-day rosters. These same four teams led the pack last year. Kentucky has 21 former players on NBA teams, one more than last year and the most from one school on opening-day rosters since we began compiling this list on a yearly basis 27 years ago. Duke and North Carolina each have 15 former players on NBA teams and Kansas has 14. Rounding out those schools with double-digit former players are Connecticut, Florida, and UCLA, each with 12. 

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 may be reported by the NBA or on other lists. Only the last college a player attended is shown in cases where players on current NBA rosters attended more than one college.

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 440 on the 2013-14 opening-day 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 fourth consecutive year in producing NBA players, with 67. That is good for an average of 4.5 former players per school, which also leads the average per conference. Next in line is the SEC, with 57 former players and an average of 4.1 former players per school, followed by the Pac-12 with 51 players and an average of 4.3 players per team. The Big 12 comes in 4th with 33 players in the NBA and an average of 3.3 former players per school, the American has 28 in the NBA with 2.8 players per school, the Big East has 27 and 2.7, and the Big Ten has 27 players in the NBA for an average of 2.3 players per schools. The Pac-12 is the only conference that has all schools represented on NBA rosters at the beginning of the 2013-14 season, which also had that honor last year. The Big East had 9 of 10 schools with former players on NBA opening-day rosters this season, the ACC had 13 of 15, the SEC 11 of 14, the Big Ten 9 of 12, and the Big 12 had 7 of 10. Eight conferences had only one team represented in the NBA, and six conferences had no NBA players on 2013-14 NBA opening-day rosters.

There were 61 foreign players on 2013-14 NBA opening-day rosters that did not play in U.S. colleges, or 13.9% of the NBA total. That is 6 more foreign players than last season. A total of 26 players went straight from U.S. high schools to the NBA (5.9% of the NBA total), and 1 player attended a non-Division I college. Division I colleges provide the balance of 352 NBA players (80.0%). Foreign players that played at U.S. colleges are counted under the appropriate Division I school listing; however, there were 26 foreign players that played at U.S. colleges, so a total of 87 players on opening-day rosters were not born in the U.S.

The average NBA player at the start of the 2013-14 season was 26.88 years old and had 4.87 years of NBA experience. NBA team averages for these categories are 26.89 and 4.88, respectively, as shown in the accompanying tables. Players on the Miami Heat averaged 31.14 years of age, making them the oldest of all 30 NBA teams, and they averaged 8.93 years of NBA playing experience, which was also tops in this category. The Philadelphia 76ers are the youngest team in the league in averaging 24.37 in age, and the New Orleans Pelicans and have an average of 2.60 years of experience, 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 sobering data. It shows the number of NBA players with the corresponding number of years of NBA experience. For example, there are 60 players on opening-day rosters this season that have one year of NBA experience, and they make up 13.6% of the total number of NBA players. A bit under half (46.6%) of NBA players are rookies or have 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 49 players (11.1%) on 2013-14 NBA opening-day rosters have more than 10 years of NBA experience, and only 15 have 15 or more years of NBA experience!

Player turnover in the NBA is always going at a breakneck pace, and you need only to look at the roster of your favorite NBA team and compare it to last year to understand 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 Brooklyn Nets, who has 18 years under his belt. Who is the oldest current player in the league? That honor belongs to the Lakers Steve Nash, born on 2/7/74, who is about six months older than Derek Fisher of the Oklahoma City Thunder. They both have 17 years of NBA playing experience along with Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, and Jermaine O'Neal. Our annual salute is due these players for their outstanding NBA longevity. Enjoy them while you can, as these players will not be around much longer on the NBA playing floor.

The last table on this page lists NBA coaches as of 2013-14 opening-day rosters and the college they attended. Indiana and Kentucky head the list with 2 coaches each. An interesting point is that 5 NBA coaches attended college at non-Division I institutions.

The following lists are based upon NBA Opening-Day rosters for the 2013-14 season, which was Tuesday, October 29, 2013. The conference list includes only current school affiliations for the 2013-14 season. Team and conference lists include players on the active NBA roster list (12 active players are allowed per NBA team at any given time) and inactive list (maximum of 3 inactive players allowed).

Copyright © 2014 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
Atlantic Coast (15)         13          67         4.5
Southeastern (14)           11          57         4.1
Pacific 12 (12)             12          51         4.3
Big 12 (10)                  7          33         3.3
American (10)                7          28         2.8
Big East (10)                9          27         2.7
Big Ten (12)                 9          27         2.3
Mountain West (11)           6          13         1.2
West Coast (10)              4          10         1.0
Atlantic 10 (13)             6           7         0.5
Conference USA (16)          5           5         0.3
Ohio Valley (12)             4           4         0.3
Horizon (9)                  2           3         0.3
Sun Belt (10)                2           3         0.3
Summit (8)                   2           2         0.3
Big Sky (11)                 2           2         0.2
Colonial (9)                 2           2         0.2
Missouri Valley (10)         1           2         0.2
Southern (11)                2           2         0.2
Big West (9)                 1           1         0.1
Ivy League (8)               1           1         0.1
Metro Atlantic (11)          1           1         0.1
Mid-American (12)            1           1         0.1
Mid-Eastern (13)             1           1         0.1
Patriot League (10)          1           1         0.1
Western Ath. (9)             1           1         0.1
America East (9)             0           0         0.0
Atlantic Sun (10)            0           0         0.0
Big South (12)               0           0         0.0
Northeast (10)               0           0         0.0
Southland (14)               0           0         0.0
Southwestern (10)            0           0         0.0
Independents (1)             0           0         0.0
Total Division I           113         352
                   Non-Division          1
                   High School          26
                   Foreign              61
                   Total in NBA        440

 
 
*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
School                    In NBA
Kentucky                    21
Duke                        15
North Carolina              15
Kansas                      14
Connecticut                 12
Florida                     12
UCLA                        12
Arizona                      9
Georgia Tech                 8
Texas                        8
Georgetown                   6
Ohio St.                     6
Syracuse                     6
Washington                   6
Gonzaga                      5
Louisville                   5
LSU                          5
Marquette                    5
Southern Cal                 5
Wake Forest                  5
Arkansas                     4
Baylor                       4
Colorado                     4
Memphis                      4
Michigan                     4
Michigan St.                 4
UNLV                         4
Villanova                    4
Alabama                      3
Arizona St.                  3
Cincinnati                   3
Florida St.                  3
Indiana                      3
Maryland                     3
Miami-FL                     3
Oklahoma St.                 3
Pittsburgh                   3
Providence                   3
Purdue                       3
Stanford                     3
Texas A&M                    3
Vanderbilt                   3
Wisconsin                    3
Boston College               2
Butler                       2
BYU                          2
California                   2
Creighton                    2
Detroit                      2
Fresno St.                   2
Illinois                     2
Kansas St.                   2
Missouri                     2
Nevada                       2
New Mexico                   2
Oregon                       2
San Diego St.                2
St. John's                   2
St. Mary's                   2
Temple                       2
Tennessee                    2
Utah                         2
Va. Commonwealth             2
Virginia                     2
Washington St.               2
Western Kentucky             2
Wichita St.                  2
Xavier                       2
Belmont                      1
Central Michigan             1
Clemson                      1
Cleveland St.                1
Colorado St.                 1
Davidson                     1
Dayton                       1
DePaul                       1
Duquesne                     1
Eastern Wash.                1
Georgia                      1
Harvard                      1
Iowa                         1
Iowa St.                     1
IUPUI                        1
La Salle                     1
Lehigh                       1
Louisiana Tech               1
Minnesota                    1
Mississippi St.              1
Morehead St.                 1
Murray St.                   1
Norfolk St.                  1
North Texas                  1
Northeastern                 1
N.C. St.                     1
Oklahoma                     1
Old Dominion                 1
Oregon St.                   1
Rice                         1
Rider                        1
Rutgers                      1
Saint Joseph's               1
Santa Clara                  1
South Dakota St.             1
South Florida                1
St. Bonaventure              1
Tennessee St.                1
Towson                       1
UALR                         1
UC Santa Barbara             1
Utah Valley                  1
UTEP                         1
Weber St.                    1
Western Carolina             1

Total Division I           352
Non-Division I               1
High School                 26
Foreign                     61
Total in NBA 2012-13       440


NBA Teams Sorted by Average Experience

                                Avg.     Avg.
Team                            Exp.     Age  
Miami Heat                      8.93    31.14
Brooklyn Nets                   7.80    29.78
Los Angeles Clippers            6.67    28.59
Los Angeles Lakers              6.60    28.60
New York Knicks                 6.60    28.96
Chicago Bulls                   6.46    28.67
Dallas Mavericks                6.33    28.48
San Antonio Spurs               6.00    28.76
Memphis Grizzlies               5.69    27.51
Oklahoma City Thunder           5.21    26.56
Denver Nuggets                  4.87    26.12
Washington Wizards              4.67    25.84
Boston Celtics                  4.64    26.42
Indiana Pacers                  4.64    27.99
Charlotte Bobcats               4.60    26.49
Orlando Magic                   4.47    26.20
Golden State Warriers           4.36    26.19
Atlanta Hawks                   4.33    27.05
Sacramento Kings                4.27    26.55
Utah Jazz                       4.27    26.28
Milwaukee Bucks                 4.13    26.28
Toronto Raptors                 4.00    25.75
Detroit Pistons                 3.93    25.89
Portland Trail Blazers          3.87    25.66
Minnesota Timberwolves          3.67    26.01
Houston Rockets                 3.33    25.57
Philadelphia 76ers              3.33    24.37
Cleveland Cavaliers             3.13    24.43
Phoenix Suns                    2.93    25.77
New Orleans Pelicans            2.60    24.91
Average per Team                4.88    26.89
 
NBA Teams Sorted by Average Age
                                Avg.     Avg.
Team                            Exp.     Age
Miami Heat                      8.93    31.14
Brooklyn Nets                   7.80    29.78
New York Knicks                 6.60    28.96
San Antonio Spurs               6.00    28.76
Chicago Bulls                   6.46    28.67
Los Angeles Lakers              6.60    28.60
Los Angeles Clippers            6.67    28.59
Dallas Mavericks                6.33    28.48
Indiana Pacers                  4.64    27.99
Memphis Grizzlies               5.69    27.51
Atlanta Hawks                   4.33    27.05
Oklahoma City Thunder           5.21    26.56
Sacramento Kings                4.27    26.55
Charlotte Bobcats               4.60    26.49
Boston Celtics                  4.64    26.42
Milwaukee Bucks                 4.13    26.28
Utah Jazz                       4.27    26.28
Orlando Magic                   4.47    26.20
Golden State Warriers           4.36    26.19
Denver Nuggets                  4.87    26.12
Minnesota Timberwolves          3.67    26.01
Detroit Pistons                 3.93    25.89
Washington Wizards              4.67    25.84
Phoenix Suns                    2.93    25.77
Toronto Raptors                 4.00    25.75
Portland Trail Blazers          3.87    25.66
Houston Rockets                 3.33    25.57
New Orleans Pelicans            2.60    24.91
Cleveland Cavaliers             3.13    24.43
Philadelphia 76ers              3.33    24.37
Average per Team                4.88    26.89


Years of Experience for NBA Players

   No. Years NBA     No. NBA                   Cumulative
     Experience      Players    Percentage     Percentage
          0            62          .141           .141
          1            60          .136           .277
          2            45          .102           .380
          3            38          .086           .466
          4            35          .080           .545
          5            38          .086           .632
          6            26          .059           .691
          7            18          .041           .732
          8            25          .057           .789
          9            22          .050           .839
         10            22          .050           .889
         11            13          .030           .918
         12            12          .027           .945
         13             4          .009           .955
         14             5          .011           .966
         15             7          .016           .982
         16             2          .005           .986
         17             5          .011           .998
         18             1          .002          1.000
             Total    440


NBA Coaches and College Attended

NBA Team                 Coach              College
New York Knicks          Mike Woodson      Indiana
Washington Wizards       Randy Wittman     Indiana
Toronto Raptors          Dwane Casey       Kentucky
Indiana Pacers           Frank Vogel       Kentucky
San Antonio Spurs        Gregg Popovich    Air Force Academy
Philadelphia 76ers       Brett Brown       Boston University
Brooklyn Nets            Jason Kidd        California
Utah Jazz                Tyrone Corbin     DePaul
Boston Celtics           Brad Stevens      DePauw
Phoenix Suns             Jeff Hornacek     Iowa State
Orlando Magic            Jacque Vaughn     Kansas
Minnesota Timberwolves   Rick Adelman      Loyola Marymount
Sacramento Kings         Michael Malone    Loyola, Md.
Charlotte Bobcats        Steve Clifford    Maine-Farmington
Los Angeles Clippers     Doc Rivers        Marquette
Los Angeles Lakers       Mike D'Antoni     Marshall
Houston Rockets          Kevin McHale      Minnesota
Milwaukee Bucks          Larry Drew        Missouri
Memphis Grizzlies        David Joerger     Moorhead State
New Orleans Pelicans     Monty Williams    Notre Dame
Portland Trail Blazers   Terry Stotts      Oklahoma
Atlanta Hawks            Mike Budenholzer  Pomona
Miami Heat               Erik Spoelstra    Portland
Chicago Bulls            Tom Thibodeau     Salem State
Cleveland Cavaliers      Mike Brown        San Diego
Golden State Warriers    Mark Jackson      St. John's 
Oklahoma City Thunder    Scott Brooks      UC-Irvine
Denver Nuggets           Brian Shaw        UC-Santa Barbara
Dallas Mavericks         Rick Carlisle     Virginia
Detroit Pistons          Maurice Cheeks    West Texas State