College Basketball Content

Where the NBA Players Come From

For the 5th consecutive season, players from Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and North Carolina are the top colleges with the most former players on 2016-17 NBA Opening-Day Rosters
 

Just like the past four seasons, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina top the list of 108 Division I colleges that have one or more former players on 2016-17 NBA opening-day rosters, which was Tuesday, October 25, 2016. Kentucky had 24 former players on 2016-17 NBA opening-day rosters, Duke had 19, Kansas had 15, and North Carolina 14. These four teams have led all other teams for the past five seasons with minor changes in the order. The 24 former players Kentucky had in the NBA on 2016-17 opening-day rosters is the best of any college since we began compiling this list on a yearly basis some 30 years ago. UCLA (13), Arizona (12), Syracuse (11) and Florida (10) round out those schools with double-digit numbers of former players on NBA opening-round rosters this season. The top four schools supply nearly 5 teams' worth of NBA players, using a 15-player active NBA roster.

Collegiate Basketball News' Jim Sukup has been tracking the origin of 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 that are found on other lists. 

It is quite interesting 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 449 on the 2016-17 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 then headed the list of colleges with 9 former players in the NBA, and the ACC was at the top of the conferences with 34 players on the 1986-87 NBA opening-day roster list.

The ACC heads the list of conferences for the seventh consecutive year in producing the most NBA players, with 75 this season. That is an average of 5.0 former players per school, which also tops that category. The Pac-12 tops is next with 55 players and an average of 4.6 former players per team. Next is the SEC with 62 players and an average of 4.4 former players per team. The Big 12 is 4th with 33 former players in the NBA with an average of 3.3 former players per school, the Big East has 28 players for a 2.8 average, and the Big Ten has 38 former players in the NBA for an average of 2.7 players per school. That is followed by the Mountain West, which has 15 former players in the NBA for a 1.4 average, and the American has 12 former players in the NBA for 1.1 players per school. The ACC and Big East are the only conferences that have at least one former player from each member school on 2016-17 opening-day rosters. The Pac-12 had 11 of 12 schools with former players on NBA opening-day rosters this season, the SEC and Big Ten both had 10 of 14, the Big 12 had 7 of 10, the Mountain West 7 of 11, the American 5 of 11, and Atlantic 10 had 6 of 14. Rounding out the conferences that had 3 or 4 teams with former players on NBA rosters include the Ohio Valley, with 4 of 12 schools represented, the Big West, with 3 of 9, and Conference USA, with 4 of 14. Twelve conferences had 2 or 1 former players representing their schools in the NBA, and 8 conferences had no former players on 2016-17 NBA opening-day rosters.

There were 76 foreign players on 2016-17 NBA opening-day rosters that did not play for U.S. colleges, or 16.9% of the NBA total. That is 10 more foreign players than last season. A total of 12 current players went straight from U.S. high schools to the NBA (2.7% of the NBA total), which is down from 18 players last season. Just one player attended a non-Division I college. Division I colleges provide a total of 360 NBA players (80.2%). Foreign players that played at U.S. colleges are counted under the appropriate Division I school listing.  

The average NBA player at the start of the 2016-17 season was 26.75 years old, compared with 26.86 years old last season and 26.87 in 2014-15. The average NBA player had 4.85 years of NBA experience compared to 4.96 years the last two seasons. Players on the Cleveland Cavaliers averaged 30.50 years of age, making them the oldest of all 30 NBA teams, and they averaged 8.73 years of NBA playing experience, which also leads this category. The Philadelphia 76ers, as last season, are the youngest team in the league in averaging 24.16 years of age, and they also have an average of 2.27 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 sobering data. This table shows the number of NBA players with the corresponding number of years of NBA experience. For example, there are 72 rookie players on opening-day rosters this season that had no NBA experience coming into this season, and they make up 16.0% of the total number of the 449 NBA players on opening-day rosters. Slightly under half (210, or 46.8%) 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 2016-17 NBA opening-day rosters have more than 10 years of NBA experience, and only 13 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. Three NBA players this season have 18 years of playing experience this season: Vince Carter of the Memphis Grizzlies, Paul Pierce of the LA Clippers, and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. Who is the oldest current player in the league? That honor belongs to Vince Carter of the Grizzlies, born on 1/26/77, who is a bit older than three other NBA players that were also born in 1977: Manu Ginobli (7/28/77), Jason Terry (9/15/77), and Paul Pierce (10/13/77). Our annual tip of the hat is due these players for their outstanding NBA longevity. Enjoy them while you can, because they will be out of the NBA before you know it.  

The last table on this page lists NBA coaches as of 2016-17 opening-day rosters and the colleges that they attended. Arizona, Iowa State and Kentucky head the list with 2 NBA coaches each. A total of 18 teams have the same coach as last season and 12 teams (40%) have new coaches this season. It's interesting that 5 NBA coaches attended college at non-Division I institutions.

The following lists are based upon NBA Opening-Day rosters for the 2016-17 season, which was Tuesday, October 25, 2016. The conference list includes only current school affiliations for the 2016-17 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
Atlantic Coast (15)         15          75         5.0
Pacific 12 (12)             11          55         4.6
Southeastern (14)           10          62         4.4
Big 12 (10)                  7          33         3.3
Big East (10)               10          28         2.8
Big Ten (14)                10          38         2.7
Mountain West (11)           7          15         1.4
American (11)                5          12         1.1
Atlantic 10 (14)             6           9         0.6
West Coast (10)              2           5         0.5
Ohio Valley (12)             4           5         0.4
Big West (9)                 3           3         0.3
Conference USA (14)          4           4         0.3
Big Sky (12)                 2           3         0.3
Missouri Valley (10)         1           2         0.2
Patriot (10)                 2           2         0.2
Mid-American (12)            2           2         0.2
Ivy League (8)               1           1         0.1
Western Athletic (8)         1           1         0.1
Summit (9)                   1           1         0.1
Colonial (10)                1           1         0.1
Horizon (9)                  1           1         0.1
Sun Belt (12)                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 (10)               0           0         0.0
Metro Atlantic (11)          0           0         0.0
Northeast (10)               0           0         0.0
Southern (10)                0           0         0.0
Southland (13)               0           0         0.0
Southwestern (10)            0           0         0.0
Total Division I           108         360
                   Non-Division          1
                   High School          12
                   Foreign*             76
                   Total in NBA        449
*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                    24
       2 Duke                        19
       3 Kansas                      15
       4 North Carolina              14
       5 UCLA                        13
       6 Arizona                     12
       7 Syracuse                    11
       8 Florida                     10
       9 LSU                          8
       9 Texas                        8
       9 Washington                   8
      12 Michigan                     7
      12 Michigan St.                 7
      14 Marquette                    6
      14 UNLV                         6
      16 Connecticut                  5
      16 Georgetown                   5
      16 Georgia Tech                 5
      16 Indiana                      5
      16 Ohio St.                     5
      16 Southern Cal                 5
      16 Tennessee                    5
      16 Villanova                    5
      16 Wake Forest                  5
      25 Louisville                   4
      25 Maryland                     4
      25 Stanford                     4
      25 Vanderbilt                   4
      25 Virginia                     4
      25 Wisconsin                    4
      31 Arkansas                     3
      31 California                   3
      31 Creighton                    3
      31 Gonzaga                      3
      31 Memphis                      3
      31 Nevada                       3
      31 Notre Dame                   3
      31 Oklahoma St.                 3
      31 Saint Joseph's               3
      31 Texas A&M                    3
      31 Utah                         3
      42 Alabama                      2
      42 Baylor                       2
      42 Boston College               2
      42 Butler                       2
      42 Cincinnati                   2
      42 Clemson                      2
      42 Colorado                     2
      42 Fresno St.                   2
      42 Illinois                     2
      42 Kansas St.                   2
      42 Miami-FL                     2
      42 Missouri                     2
      42 Murray St.                   2
      42 Oklahoma                     2
      42 Oregon                       2
      42 Purdue                       2
      42 St. John's                   2
      42 St. Mary's                   2
      42 VCU                          2
      42 Washington St.               2
      42 Weber St.                    2
      42 Wichita St.                  2
      42 Xavier                       2
      65 Arizona St.                  1
      65 Belmont                      1
      65 Bowling Green                1
      65 Bucknell                     1
      65 Colorado St.                 1
      65 CS Fullerton                 1
      65 Davidson                     1
      65 Dayton                       1
      65 DePaul                       1
      65 Eastern Wash.                1
      65 Florida St.                  1
      65 Georgia                      1
      65 Harvard                      1
      65 Houston                      1
      65 Iowa St.                     1
      65 IUPUI                        1
      65 Lehigh                       1
      65 Long Beach St.               1
      65 Louisiana Tech               1
      65 Marshall                     1
      65 Minnesota                    1
      65 Morehead St.                 1
      65 New Mexico                   1
      65 New Mexico St.               1
      65 Norfolk St.                  1
      65 Northeastern                 1
      65 N.C. State                   1
      65 Oakland                      1
      65 Ohio                         1
      65 Old Dominion                 1
      65 Penn St.                     1
      65 Pittsburgh                   1
      65 Providence                   1
      65 Saint Louis                  1
      65 San Diego St.                1
      65 Seton Hall                   1
      65 St. Bonaventure              1
      65 Temple                       1
      65 Tennessee St.                1
      65 UC Santa Barbara             1
      65 UL Lafayette                 1
      65 Virginia Tech                1
      65 Western Kentucky             1
      65 Wyoming                      1
         Total Division I           360
         Non-Division I               1
         High School                 12
         Foreign                     76
         Total in NBA 2014-15       449


NBA Teams Sorted by Average Experience

                                Avg.     Avg.
Team                            Exp.     Age
Cleveland                       8.73    30.50
LA Clippers                     8.27    29.87
Goldern State                   6.67    27.87
San Antonio                     6.00    28.61
Indiana                         5.93    27.23
Sacramento                      5.67    27.18
Dallas                          5.60    28.34
Memphis                         5.53    27.49
Atlanta                         5.40    28.00
Miami                           5.40    27.50
LA Lakers                       5.20    27.25
Charlotte                       5.13    26.42
Houston                         4.80    26.50
Utah                            4.73    26.50
Milwaukee                       4.60    26.35
Denver                          4.47    25.36
New York                        4.40    27.23
New Orleans                     4.27    26.14
Phoenix                         4.27    25.14
Orlando                         4.27    26.21
Boston                          4.20    25.56
Chicago                         4.00    26.37
Washington                      3.87    25.97
Brooklyn                        3.87    26.80
Oklahoma City                   3.87    25.99
Detroit                         3.67    25.78
Minnesota                       3.60    26.10
Toronto                         3.53    25.01
Portland                        3.13    24.94
Philadelphia                    2.27    24.16
Average Per Team                4.85    26.75
 
 
NBA Teams Sorted by Average Age
                                Avg.     Avg.
Team                            Exp.     Age
Cleveland                       8.73    30.50
LA Clippers                     8.27    29.87
San Antonio                     6.00    28.61
Dallas                          5.60    28.34
Atlanta                         5.40    28.00
Goldern State                   6.67    27.87
Miami                           5.40    27.50
Memphis                         5.53    27.49
LA Lakers                       5.20    27.25
Indiana                         5.93    27.23
New York                        4.40    27.23
Sacramento                      5.67    27.18
Brooklyn                        3.87    26.80
Houston                         4.80    26.50
Utah                            4.73    26.50
Charlotte                       5.13    26.42
Chicago                         4.00    26.37
Milwaukee                       4.60    26.35
Orlando                         4.27    26.21
New Orleans                     4.27    26.14
Minnesota                       3.60    26.10
Oklahoma City                   3.87    25.99
Washington                      3.87    25.97
Detroit                         3.67    25.78
Boston                          4.20    25.56
Denver                          4.47    25.36
Phoenix                         4.27    25.14
Toronto                         3.53    25.01
Portland                        3.13    24.94
Philadelphia                    2.27    24.16
Average Per Team                4.85    26.75
 

Years of Experience for NBA Players

   No. Years NBA     No. NBA                   Cumulative
     Experience      Players    Percentage     Percentage
          0            72          .160           .160
          1            54          .120           .281
          2            47          .105           .385
          3            37          .082           .468
          4            37          .082           .550
          5            29          .065           .615
          6            29          .065           .679
          7            28          .062           .742
          8            30          .067           .808
          9            19          .042           .851
         10            11          .024           .875
         11            13          .029           .904
         12            13          .029           .933
         13            13          .029           .962
         14             4          .009           .971
         15             6          .013           .984
         16             3          .007           .991
         17             1          .002           .993
         18             3          .007          1.000
                      449

NBA Coaches and College Attended

Team                     Coach              College
Brooklyn Nets            Kenny Anderson     Georgia Tech
Atlanta Hawks            Mike Budenholzer  Pomona
Boston Celtics           Brad Stevens      DePauw
Charlotte Hornets        Steve Clifford    Maine-Farmington
Chicago Bulls            Fred Hoiberg       Iowa State
Cleveland Cavaliers      Tyronn Lue         Nebraska
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          Mike D'Antoni      Marshall
Indiana Pacers           Nate McMillan      North Carolina State
Los Angeles Clippers     Doc Rivers        Marquette
Los Angeles Lakers       Luke Walton        Arizona
Memphis Grizzlies        David Fizdale      San Diego
Miami Heat               Erik Spoelstra    Portland
Milwaukee Bucks          Jason Kidd        California
Minnesota Timberwolves   Tom Thibodeau      Salem State
New Orleans Pelicans     Alvin Gentry       Appalachian State
New York Knicks          Jeff Hornacek     Iowa State
Oklahoma City Thunder    Billy Donovan      Providence
Orlando Magic            Frank Vogel       Kentucky
Philadelphia 76ers       Brett Brown       Boston University
Phoenix Suns             Earl Watson        UCLA
Portland Trail Blazers   Terry Stotts      Oklahoma
Sacramento Kings         Dave Joerger       North Carolina
San Antonio Spurs        Gregg Popovich    Air Force Academy
Toronto Raptors          Dwane Casey       Kentucky
Utah Jazz                Quin Snyder        Duke
Washington Wizards       Scott Brooks       UC Irvine